last week in Greece, when I couldn't open my eyes because the sun was in my face. I can't bring myself to Greece again, at least not until I've saved up for a few months, but I can bring a tiny bit of Greece to me.
Fava is a Greek dip much like the more popularly known hummus, just that it's made with the a variety of the humble yellow split pea, instead of chickpeas. Santorini fava is apparently superior in taste, colour and texture and hence a must-have on the island, and we had it with yummy toasted pita bread. Here in London, I can only settle for the yellow split peas from the Indian grocer's down the road, and toasted stale bread (it was good sourdough bread though, a Hoxton rye from Saturday's shift at the farmer's market).
1 cup of yellow split peas
slightly more than 2 cups of water
1 red onion, chopped finely
juice of 1/2 a lemon
unrefined sea salt
good drizzle of your favourite extra virgin olive oil
parsley, to garnish
toasted pita/bread (I actually really liked dipping crusty sourdough toast into this)
handful of button or chestnut mushrooms
1. Wash the split peas well. I also soaked them overnight which helps to make them more digestible and reduces the 'active' cooking time the next day, though they do cook up pretty easily anyway.
2. Bring the split peas to a boil, removing any froth on the top, and add half of the onions to the pot, and then let simmer steadily till most of the water has been absorbed and the split peas are now soft and mushy.
3. Season now (too soon and it will never soften), and add the evoo and lemon juice, and mash using the back of a wooden spoon for a more rustic, textured fava. Or if you prefer a smooth puree, use a blender.
4. Serve, making a little well in the middle to hold the rest of the onions, a sprig of parsley, and another good drizzle of evoo. Dip bread in and enjoy!
Or, for stuffed mushrooms,
5. Pop the stems from the mushrooms, and toss the mushrooms with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Stuff the cavity with as much fava as you can, I also sprinkled some thyme over, and then bake in a 180 degrees celsius oven for about 25 min, or till the mushrooms are cooked and release their juices, and the stuffing gets crusty.
This recipe makes quite a lot of fava, more than enough for a couple of slices of toast, which was why I decided to stuff the extra into a few large button mushrooms lurking in the fridge. Really simple, but it turned out surprisingly delicious. The edges of the stuffing crisped up beautifully, while the insides remained soft and creamy inside the juicy mushrooms. I would happily do an "up-size" version with fat and meaty portobello mushrooms the next time round.