Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fava Beans with Mediterranean Jews

Anyone steeped in Mediterranean culinary cultures, especially that of Sephardic Jews in the Eastern
Mediterranean, will note, for example, around the time of Passover, the complete unfamiliarity of this food with the food of Eastern Europe whence most of the Jews in Western Europe and North America hail.  May and June is a time for fresh fava beans and among Sephardic Jews “fava beans are one of the foods the Jews hankered for during their Exodus from Egypt,"Claudia Roden, author of The Book of Jewish Food: an Odyssey from Samarkand to New York, who Roden grew up in Egypt, tells us.

[photo: Clifford A. Wright]

Among Greek Jews a favorite dish this time of year is simply called koukia, fava beans.

Fava Beans with Dill
In the Ladino language spoken by the Jews of Greece in the seventeenth century, fava beans were called avas while today in Greece they are called koukia.  This is a delightful springtime dish that can also be served as a meze at room temperature.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound double-peeled fava beans (see Note)
5 small spring onions, white and light green parts, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Juice of 2 lemons
1. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, then cook, stirring, the fava beans, springs onions, salt, and pepper for 5 minutes.  Add water to cover the beans, about 3/4 cup, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the dill and lemon juice and stir then simmer until soft, about another 10 minutes.  Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Makes 4 servings
Note: Double-peeled means the fava beans are taken out of their pods (first peel) and then skinned of their tough light green skin (second peel) that surrounds the bean.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this!
    P.S. Whenever i'm making something like this, Textuarants always help.