With fava season winding down, I’m finding every excuse I can to try new ways to prepare them… so when our friend Chriss dropped in for a mini-marathon of Lost, I decided this was just the excuse I needed to try out a new dip.
Like most dips, it’s ideal for entertaining, since there’s very little prep required aside from shelling, blanching and peeling the favas – something that could just as easily be done a day or two in advance, if you happen to be one of those people who lives by the Boy Scout motto of Be Prepared. Other than that, it’s just a matter of dropping everything into a food processor and pressing a few buttons until you’ve achieved deliciousness.
Everything about this dip just screams spring to me. For one, it’s a beautiful shade of pale emerald green that my mind immediately associates with spring. The flavour is lively and fresh, courtesy of the yogurt and dill, with an ever so slight bitterness from the fresh favas, and loads of sharp garlic to wake up any tastebuds that are still stuck in a winter rut. Pair it with a crisp white wine and you’ve got yourself a great starter for an al fresco spring meal (as long as your date isn’t a vampire, that is).
Oh, and did I mention how fresh it is?
When favas aren’t in season, you can use canned favas or cooked dried favas instead. The canned (or dried) beans will give the dip a yellowish-brown colour, which I’ll admit isn’t nearly as appealing as the glorious pale green you get from fresh favas, but which is plenty delicious nonetheless. Just remember… beauty is in the eye of the beholder (or the tastebuds of the eater, as the case may be).
- 1½ cups shelled fresh fava beans
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp Greek-style yogurt
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- Salt and pepper
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the favas for about 5 minutes, or until bright green and tender. Drain, then plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
- Once the favas are cool enough to handle, carefully peel off and discard the tough, leathery skins around the beans.
- Using a food processor, finely chop the garlic. Add the blanched favas, yogurt, lemon juice and olive oil, and process until you have a smooth puree. It will probably seem a bit runny, but don't panic - the dip will thicken up as it stands.
- Add dill and pulse until dill is finely chopped and mixed throughout. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To serve, spoon the dip into a pretty bowl, drizzle with a little good-quality olive oil, and bring to the table with a pile of toasted pita wedges for dipping (or, if you're feeling ambitious, shards of homebaked lavash).