Wednesday, April 8, 2009

spring is in

blame it on the really windy
days or the seemingly unending
cold rain showers -
i'm still not fully convinced
that spring has sprung.

but, in the grocery stores,
there's no denying that
the warmer season is upon us.
woody morels,
mountains of walla wallas,
gorgeous spring onions and
unending bundles of asparagus
are popping up,
begging that we bring them home,
cook them lightly
and serve up a proper spring supper.

and, really,
who am i to argue?

two years ago, i clipped
a recipe from food and wine.
like most recipes that i pull, tear, print -
they end up somewhere in the bottom
of my pocketbook,
stashed back into the magazine they came from,
tossed into the really large book
of things i'd like to one day make -
it had disappeared for a while.

(seriously, my best gift in december 2007
was from larry,
who kindly organized all of my
recipes, in wipe-away plastic sleeves,
in alphabetical order,
in two three ring binders:
one for savory
one for sweet.
maybe i need a 2009 refresher...)

this one was lucky to be found.
sort of.
thank goodness for the internet.
as i spotted bin upon bin
of fava beans in the markets,
the singular most important ingredient,
i knew it was time. but if i waited until
i had found the original,
pumpkins and sugar plums
would have been in season.

sounds delicious,
unfortunately, we live in an apartment,
with no outdoor area to speak of.
and our grill pan. oh, our horrible, horrible
grill pan.
it's really not very good.
things stick to it,
it makes everything crazily smoky.
and i swear larry,
after trying every method -
from letting it sit covered in kosher salt
to using a toothbrush -
to clean it,
works very hard not to cry or curse
whenever i set it on the stove.

so instead, i tossed the pods with
olive oil plopped
them into a searing hot pan and let
them darken deliciously in spots,
turning from time to time.
after, they went back into
the bowl,
with sliced scallions,
red pepper flakes,
kosher salt
instead of lemon wedges, lime juice.

the heat from the favas,
significantly softens the scallions
and turns the dish into a
cohesive side
that really does tantalize your
tongue and linger
on your lips.

like extra large edamame,
you can grab just the beans
and pop them in your mouth,
or nosh on the whole pod,
which once i learned to pull
off the stringy side first,
was the style i was enamoured by.
regardless, i think it is the most fun
if you set the bowl in the center of the
table and let everyone decide
for themselves.

i paired these spicy favas
with homemade pizza,
because, well, i didn't really have
the ingredients in the house to make
much else.
it was a nice balance, but
i think you would not regret
setting them alongside
a simple piece of fish,
or even a
sandwich in place of fries or chips.

and maybe,
even you heard the meteorologist say,
as i did,
that it could snow (this week!),
you may start to believe
in spring again.

fava bean pods with pepper flakes, scallions and lime
adapted from food and wine magazine
once cooked, if you choose to pluck the beans from the pods to eat, make sure that you also remove the extra layer of skins around the pods (don't worry - it's impossible to miss). they're not harmful, they'll just taste a lot better this way. also, i imagine the next time that i make these, i'll guesstimate the amounts of the ingredients. this fuss-free dish doesn't need measuring spoons.

1 pound fresh fava bean pods, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
kosher salt

rinse fava beans; blot dry. in bowl, combine fava beans and olive oil, tossing to coat. in large saucepan or skillet over high heat, cook pods 5 to 7 minutes, or until starting to brown and are very soft, turning ocassionally.

return fava bean pods to bowl; add scallion, lime juice and red pepper flakes; season with kosher salt. toss pods to coat.

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