07 July 2008

Fava bean hash

A former dinner club companion once remarked that food was something that had to be put into our gullets.

I love fava beans because they taste good and they're beautiful. I love them young and raw, before they develop the skin that some people like to remove before they eat them. I like them when they're old and dry and need to be soaked. I picked some fresh the other night and before my wife went out she told me there were also a lot of leftovers in the icebox that needed to be used.

Garlic, an onion, and a few carrots all aswish in a glug or two of olive oil. When I made baked beans for the 4th I soaked more than usual dry beans, so I had a tupperware tub full of cooked but unseasoned beans. Into the pan they went with the favas. I was sparing the with tub of tomatoes on the top shelf, and generous with the confit - two big goose gizzards and a meaty duck leg. Tarragon, parsley, salt and pepper, and after simmering for awhile, dinner was ready.

In the end, our former dining companion is right. Food keeps us alive and when we're dog-tired or in a rush we just need something to nourish us. But shouldn't it be something good, and something good for us? Why shouldn't gullet-filling food be healthy and fresh? Why can't fast food load us with the sun-stored energy processed by a leafy green vegetable?

I live in Minnesota and so little of the food eaten in this state is grown here. Why? Have we dulled our palates and sense of difference to such a degree that a beet seems odd? Why aren't fava beans in everyone's repertoire of early summer dishes? They can be planted early, they thrive despite our snowy spring weather, and by late June their pods are bursting with fresh greenosity.

The spell of summer is on me. I can see green from now until November, when snow-covered kale will grace our spuds.

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