Dried Fava Beans with Bitter Greens
Recipe courtesy of Nancy Harmon Jenkins, From Flavors of Puglia (Broadway Books, 1997) Published with permission from the author.
- ½ lb. dried peeled fava beans, or 1 lb. whole (unpeeled) dried fava beans
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. bitter greens (wild dandelion greens, broccoli rabe, collards, Chinese broccoli, turnip greens, or other)
- Soak the fava beans overnight, then drain and if using unpeeled fava, pull the outer skin away.
- Place the peeled fava in, preferably, a terra-cotta cooking vessel that is higher than it is broad – like an old-fashioned bean pot, though a Pugliese pignatta is the ideal form.
- Add fresh water to cover the beans, cover the vessel, and place over a rather high flame to come to a boil. (Of course a terra-cotta cooking vessel should never be set on an electric burner, so if you have an electric stove, put the beans in a heavy soup or stock kettle instead.)
- As the beans start to boil they will give up foam, which should be skimmed off with a spoon. Once the foam ceases to rise, add a good pinch of salt, and, as the beans cook down, stir them thoroughly with a long-handled wooden spoon. The beans will gradually dissolve into the cooking liquid; keep a kettle of water simmering on the back of the stove and, if necessary, add boiling water from time to time to keep the beans from scorching. The beans should take about 1 hour to cook – you will need to stir them constantly during the last 10 or 15 minutes. When they are completely dissolved, without any lumps, they should have the consistency of clotted cream.
- Using a wooden spoon, beat in ¼ cup of California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil and taste, adding salt if necessary.
- While the beans are cooking, clean the greens thoroughly in several changes of water. Place them in a large kettle and boil them in the water clinging to their leaves until they are thoroughly cooked and tender. (You may have to add a very little boiling water from time to time.)
- Drain in a colander, turn into a bowl, and dress the hot greens with the remaining ¼ cup of California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste. Toss to mix well.
- Pile the fava puree on one side of the plate, the greens on the other, and serve with lots of thick slices of country-style bread, fried in California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil if you wish, or toasted and drizzled with California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil. Eat the greens and puree together, accompanied by the crisp bread.