RECIPE – Fava beans and tomatoes
Vegetable sautés may be found all around the Mediterranean. Provençal or Napolitani are simple tomato, onion and garlic affairs, but in North Africa and Arab countries you may find spices added. For this recipe, use small fresh beans if you can and cook them very briefly. As any gardener will tell you there’s not much to beat tiny raw broad beans taken from the newly picked pods and eaten raw.
Brief cooking applies to frozen ones as well. In fact, when cooking dishes like this I de-frost the beans and then put them into the sauce just a minute or two before serving to heat them through. Otherwise, fresh or frozen you have to cook for about 8 minutes until the inside is soft and starchy – not recommended. If you find the skins of the fava aggravating, they can be easily – if tediously – “filleted”.
Ingredients for four servings
450 g / 1lb. shelled Fava (Broad) beans (you may use frozen beans – see “Cook’s Note”) 1 medium-large onion, peeled and thinly slices. 6 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, and chopped (remove the seeds, too, if they get between your teeth) 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped. 2 tbsp olive oil Salt and Pepper
1. In a medium sized deep-sided frying pan or saucepan, heat the olive oil and stir fry the onion for about 4 minutes and then add the garlic. Continue frying until the edges of the onion are golden brown. 2. Stir in the tomato and cook gently for about 8 minutes. 3. In a separate pan boil about a litre of water and plunge the broad beans into it. Bring back to boil for one minute. 4. Drain beans, add them to the tomato sauce, stir and serve.