It is fava bean season. This wonderful old world legume is believed to have originated in the Orient and was already cultivated by ancient Egyptians. In the South of France fresh fava beans are also eaten raw, just dipped in a little salt. I have chosen a very simple recipe but they can also be prepared mashed, added into soup, or prepared with béchamel sauce. According to some French websites fava bean flour can be used as an additive to regular bread because of its containt of an enzyme called lipoxygenase that among other things whitens the dough.
The bean will need to be released from the pod. One pound per person will provide a good size portion. Note that the pods gets the darker as the beans mature.
If your fava beans are really fresh you will not need to peel them. If the outer skin is whitish you will need to do it, otherwise the skin gets tough.
Mine where fresh enough so I didn’t peel them
I sauteed one small onion in a spoon of olive oil until golden, then I add the fava beans,one teaspoon of kofte spice, 1/2 teaspoon of fresh savory herb, salt & pepper and 1 tablespoon of water. Cover and cook until the beans are tender or about 6 minutes.
Voilà! for today and if you cook any of my dishes or need more info do not hesitate to write to me.
It is time to brush up on our Latin, celebrate the month of May & eat fava beans!
According to Ovid the origin name May, could derives from maiores –the elders. The ritual he describes in the Fasti’s book V –transcribed and translated below– certainly supports it.
OVID FASTI LIBER V
“Cumque manus puras fontana perluit unda,
Vertitur et nigras accipit ante fabas,
Aversusque iacit; sed dum iacit, ‘haec ego mitto,
His’ inquit ‘redimo meque meosque fabis.’
Hoc novies dicit nec respicit: umbra putatur
Colligere et nullo terga vidente sequi.
Rursus aquam tangit, Temesaeaque concrepat aera,
Et rogat ut tectis exeat umbra suis.
Cum dixit nouies: ‘Manes exite paterni!’,
Respecit et pure sagra peracta putat.”
“Once his hands were cleansed with spring water, he turned around and took the black fava beans. While throwing them one by one behind his back he says: ‘I offer these fava beans, with them I redeem myself and my people.’
He says it nine times without turning around. Meanwhile, without being seen, the shadow is supposed to collect the fava beans. Then he touches the spring water and rings the Témésa bronze. Now he commands the shadow to live the house. For that he will say nine times: ‘ Out, manes of my fathers‘”.
The drawing/collage above titled V (May) is part of a series of 12 drawings-collages developed into a performance piece: “The Calendar”, I premiered in 1997. The performance consisted of a computer projection of an animated version of the drawings and the singing of texts accompanied by musicians. For the first six months Ovid’s Fasti primarily inspired the texts. In this case directly connected to the rituals Ovid describes in Liber V (verses 419-445) cited above.
Next post will be a simple recipe of fresh fava beans. Happy May!