I’m fairly sure that this is the ugliest soup I have ever made or eaten. The good news is that looks aren’t everything; it was actually very tasty. It was a cunning use of leftovers: the fava bean puree from awhile back, mixed with plenty of garlicky chicken stock, some finely chopped ham and asparagus stems, and a fair quantity of frozen chopped spinach.
The final soup was savory and had a nice velvety mouthfeel. It also had a tendency to gel when chilled, which made for an unappetizing look straight out of the fridge, but a bit of whisking after reheating brought it right back. This would be a good soup to make with any sort of leftover bean puree, or with fresh split peas. It would also be splendid with sourdough croutons, I’m thinking.
I finally got around to making something out of my most recently acquired Italian cookbook. Not farro, though (I need to restock my supply), but fava beans. An embarrassingly long time ago we picked up a bag of dried favas but had so far failed to use them in anything – I kept looking for good recipes but everything seemed to call for fresh beans, not dried. This recipe, though, is specifically for dried beans: a simple puree of cooked favas, blended with garlic and olive oil, and topped with sauteed greens. Apparently it’s a very traditional dish, and according to the book, Marcella Hazan has said this is what she would want for her last meal. Maybe it’s better when she makes it.
We finally got to the farmer’s market early enough last week to get hold of some fava beans. They tend to sell out fast, given that you really need to buy at least a pound or two to have enough worth eating. I don’t often feel like spending the time to shell and peel fava beans, but I like to make sure we have them at least once a year.
When we first started getting favas (always from the same person, Debbie of Colony Creek Farm), I knew one way to fix them: blanched, peeled and sauteed with green onion, prosciutto and some cream, then tossed with pasta. Delicious, indeed, but we actually managed to burn out on the flavor. I wanted to try something different, and we just happened to pick up a fresh bunch of garlic scapes at the same market, which made me think Pesto. Continue reading