No, this isn't hummus. It's what you might call the Italian equivalent though - fava bean puree, made with dried fava beans. I found them in a store in Brooklyn a couple of days ago - more about that later. I'd never have found the store had it not been for Pat, a fellow blogger I've been following for years who writes "Mille Fiori Favoriti" - a wonderful blog primarily about New York City. Pat always informs and entertains her readers, and she never runs out of interesting places to visit and fun things to do. I was lucky enough to be invited on her most recent adventure, as a member of the studio audience on the new TV show on ABC called "The Chew."
I also got to meet Pat's husband Vinny and friend Rosemary (who was taking our picture) and we had a fun time watching the show, with its co-hosts Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, and Daphne Oz.
Following the show, we ate a delicious meal at the Clinton Street Baking Company and Restaurant, where we had a hard time deciding on which of the tempting offerings to order. Everyone was so busy noshing that no one remembered to take photos until it was too late.
Vinny and Pat were terrific hosts, and wanted to show me a bit of Brooklyn, a borough I've visited half a half dozen times or so. We poked in and out of antique and second hand shops along Atlantic Avenue and ended up at a Middle Eastern food emporium called "Sahadi's." The shelves were brimming with everything from peas to pomegranate syrup. I came home with several items, including these dried fava beans.
They were already peeled, so all I needed to do was soak them overnight before cooking. Here's what they looked like the next morning.
I drained the water, put fresh water in the pot and simmered them for about an hour until they got soft. Don't add any salt until they're cooked, or it will take longer to soften the beans.
Drain the water, then use a potato masher to mash the beans. Season with salt and pepper and pour a warm mixture of olive oil, garlic and chopped parsley on top.
It makes a great side dish when you want something other than the typical mashed potatoes. The same recipe also tastes wonderful with cannellini beans too.
I want to send a special thank you to Pat and Vinny for inviting me to "The Chew" and for spending the day with me in Brooklyn and also to their friend Rosemary, who was so nice to chat with too. They made me feel so welcome and at ease. You can read more detail about the day at Pat's blog here.
Pat and Vinny just celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary yesterday so a special "Congratulations" and "Cent'anni" goes out to them.
Fava Bean Puree
1 pound dried fava beans
salt, pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
a handful of parsley, minced
Soak fava beans overnight in water. Drain the water the following day, then place fresh water in the pot, covering the fava beans by one inch. Cook over heat for about an hour, skimming any "foam" from the surface. Warning, if you're not careful, the foam spills over to your stove and makes a mess. After the beans are soft, drain them and place them back in the pot. Mash with a potato masher. They should not be soupy. If they are too liquidy, turn on the flame and cook for a while until some of the water evaporates. Season with salt and pepper. In another small saucepan, heat the olive oil, add the garlic, minced and cook for a minute. Then add the parsley, stir for a second or two, and pour over the mashed fava beans. This recipe works equally well with cannellini beans