Friday, April 23, 2010

Spring Vegetables - Artichokes and Fava

photo: fava bean puree, Clifford A. Wright

In Syria, there couldn’t be two more favored vegetables than artichokes and fava beans, kharshūf wa’l-fūl, except for maybe the eggplant. This simple preparation is served at room temperature and is a favorite in Damascus in the spring when artichokes and fava beans come to market. Some of the fava beans available are so young that they do not need to be peeled. If your fava beans are older you will want to peel them after boiling for 5 minutes. Although this is more work, the bright green color makes it so appetizing and, frankly, the peel is really too indigestible.
9 medium-size artichokes (about 3 pounds), trimmed
Water with lemon juice in a bowl
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
3 pounds fava bean pods (3 cups shelled beans)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1. Prepare the artichokes according to the instructions here and place the hearts in bowl of acidulated water.
2. In a mortar, pound the garlic with 1 teaspoon salt until mushy. Dice the artichokes and place in a large skillet with the fava beans, olive oil, garlic, sugar, and ¾ cup of the acidulated water in which the artichokes soaked. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, about 6 minutes. Reduce to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.
3. Uncover, taste, and correct the seasoning, then simmer another 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with parsley and serve at room temperature.
Makes 4 to 6 servings