Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spring Fava Beans with Garlic Yogurt Recipe

My mother used to make this springtime Turkish dish regularly during my childhood, and recently asked me if the fava beans had appeared at my food coop yet. That week they hadn't, but by last Monday, the plump, tender beans were filling the bins. They aren't exactly local, and I'm not even sure the California favas are ripe yet for picking, but in my haste to channel spring, I set aside my feelings about my carbon footprint, and filled my bag with these beans from Mexico. They're organic, I told myself, my bag's reusable, and I don't own a car; I'll eat them guilt free. Yes, I will.

What makes this dish special is that the whole bean pod is consumed. It is popular in spring and early summer along the Aegean coast in Turkey, when the first tender pods emerge. Because the beans are so young, eating them is like eating a fresh, green, vegetable: they are light, but also satisfyingly filling. While cooking, they smell peaty and earthy, but, paired with cool garlic yogurt, dill, and a slice of lemon, and I find myself shaking off the winter chill and welcoming longer days. A very nutritious bean, only one cup contains nearly half of the recommended daily allowance of folate, something most of us could use more of. Beginning my spring replenishing, I polished these off in a day and a half, and wanted more. Look out, California favas, here I come.

Spring Fava Beans with Garlic Yogurt

1 lb fresh fava beans
the juice of one lemon, plus one lemon for garnish, sliced in wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
I medium onion, chopped
about three tablespoons chopped dill, plus more for garnish
one cup yogurt (I used goat milk yogurt) with or without 1/2-1 clove garlic, depending on your taste

Snap off the stem end of the beans and pull out the string from both sides. Cut the fava beans into three inch lengths.

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot, and cook the onion over medium heat until translucent. Add the beans, dill, and lemon juice to the pot, along with 1-1 1/2 cups water. Season with a little salt. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot, and simmer until the beans are tender, but still have a little bite to them, about 30-40 minutes.

Transfer the beans to a platter and refrigerate until cool. Serve with the garlic yogurt, lemon slices, and dill sprigs.


elif said...

my sister! you're making my mouth water with this gorgeousness. i remember loving this dish - unfortunately, i haven't seen fresh fava beans since i left texas. i'll have to console myself with ramps and arugula rabe.