If you don’t already, go and check out your local farmers market. I promise that you’ll find both some lovely food items as well as lovely people. Just the other day, I was perusing Boulder’s Wednesday market, when I was taken by the stand of an older gentleman herbalist. We started chatting, and I made eye contact with him, as one does when in conversation with another human, and he stopped mid-sentence and said, “My goodness. Are you real? Your eyes. You are so beautiful. You have no swelling in your face, but,” he said, reaching out, “You should soften your elbows.”
This is the kind of stuff you’re missing out on.
But I digress. I was so excited to open up the CSA bag this week to find some gnarly, HUGE bean pods to discover that they were indeed fava beans, a plant that I have grown but never actually consumed until now. They are a favorite in permaculture annual polyculture techniques and pack a punch in the summer protein category.
These beans are basically the edamame of North America and so decided right away that I needed to boil them in salt water, but with what to serve them? For this I turned to Michelle McKenzie’s cookbook, Dandelion and Quince, which is all about cooking with slightly unusual ingredients. McKenzie’s recipe calls for the use of fava leaves, beans, and burrata cheese. Her fava beans are fresh and tender, but the ones I received in my basket were a bit more mature.
I also did not have access to fava leaves, but rather basil leaves right in the back yard. So, from McKenzie’s original recipe, I was inspired to create the following:
Fava Beans, Manchego Anejo, and Basil
50 g fava beans (appx. 1/3- 1/2 cup)
2 c. water
1/2 tsp table salt
Bring salt and water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Place shelled beans in water and boil for five minutes until tender. Set aside to cool.
30 g manchego anejo cheese (or other type of Spanish sheep’s milk cheese, about 1.2 ounces)
4 fresh basil leaves
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch course sea salt
pinch freshly ground pepper
Roll the fresh basil leaves and slice widthwise to get nice even strips of the herb. Place the block of cheese on a bowl or plate, and assembly what is basically a small salad. You can peel the skins off the boiled favas, but I rather liked their taste. Top the beans and cheese with the fresh basil, drizzle with oil and vinegar, then top it all off with a bit of salt and pepper. I took the time to cut my cheese up into cubes before eating it, making sure I got a little cheese, a bean and the herb with each bite. Yuuum.
Localism rating: 61% local- If you could get the cheese from a local crafts person, this would be 93% local!
In terms of nutrition, cheese packs a punch in the fat and calories department, but when treated with respect and moderation, it can be an excellent source of nutrition. The beans really kick up the protein and fiber, and overall, I found this small meal to be very filling.
Enjoy the Wort Moon this weekend!