I love the changes of seasons–except the one from winter to spring. Now is about the time we get days like last Friday, sunny and unseasonably warm, only to get the reminder today that it’s still February with a fresh batch of snow. In years past I’ve joined the masses of the ‘when will this winter be over???’ complainers, but this year I have another plan.
For the next few weeks I’ll deal with it with a delicious distraction. I’m going to reminisce about the wonderful meals I’ve had while traveling during the more blissful times of year, and do my best to recreate those memories–despite my view of a very soggy backyard terrace.
First up: Santorini, one of the sunniest, bluest, most beautiful places I’ve seen. Adam and I spent the first few days of our honeymoon there, eating little more than calamari, these fried tomato balls (an island specialty), tomato salads with fat capers and feta, and lots of ice cream sandwiches from the little newsstand by our hotel. Fava puree was seemingly on every menu, and while it’s a little on the extreme healthy side, I like to think of it as the perfect antidote to cheese and the more decadent things on the plate. It’s much like hummus in texture, but tastes more like a thick split pea soup. Side note: I very clearly remember the first time I had this spread: the day after Michael Jackson died and I experienced my first earthquake (not coincidental, I like to think…).
There are several recipes for this dip, including this one, which inspired my own recipe.
Santorini Fava Purée
- 1 ¼ cups dried small fava beans or yellow split peas
- 1 small onion cut in quarters
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (preferably Greek)
- 1 tsp. salt - fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
- a generous handful of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- juice of half a lemon
Rinse the beans under cold water, and pick out any stones or other bits of debris. Put into large saucepan and cover with 2 ½ cups of cold water. If you are finding that the water looks murky (as I did), re-rinse the beans.
Bring slowly to a boil. You’ll notice foam forming on the surface. Remove it with a wooden spoon as it builds up.
Add the onion quarters, salt, and half of the olive oil. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 40 – 60 minutes, stirring periodically, until the peas are good and mushy.
If there’s water remaining, drain off most of it (you’ll need some water for a moister purée). Use a food mill or blender to purée the beans.
Add remaining olive oil, parsley, and lemon. Stir and season with black pepper and more salt, if necessary.
Serve with the crustiest bread you can fine, with pita, and/or with raw vegetables.
Makes about 2 cups. Refrigerate unused portions and bring to room temperature and moisten with more olive oil before serving again.