There are so many wonderful foods that both Stuart and I fell in love with while traveling through Greece. The simple joy of an approaching meal time and pulling into the next village’s taverna. Typically there was no menu, and if there was it would have all been Greek to us anyway. So the proprietor would march us into the kitchen and show us what was cooking in the pots. The smells were intoxicating, promising that whatever it was it would be amazing.
A dish we discovered on the island of Santorini was a simple hummus-like dip made not from chickpeas but dried yellow peas. Every evening the restaurants served up bowls of favas with crusty bread while you waited for your main dish. I became so addicted to favas that I would be waiting at 5 pm at the local restaurant to get a serve with some crusty bread. I would be there so early that the favas were still warm from cooking and I would scurry back to our patio with our sunset sustenance.
I simply had to recreate this dish once I returned home. The yellow peas are much sweeter, and smaller, than chickpeas so this dish is easily made on the stove. It only requires a bit of onion and a bay leaf during the cooking and lashings of good quality olive oil to finish it off. Oh, a bit of sun warmed tomato is always served on top. Eating this simple dish as a dip or a side dish to grilled lamb or chicken always transports me to the lazy afternoons spent on Greece. Enjoy my friends.
Just grab some crusty bread and dig in!
Required skills: boiling water; chopping without losing a finger; multitasking; using a measuring cup instead of eyeballing it.
You can refrigerate your leftover favas, but they should be warmed up enough to knock the chill off before serving. If they become too dry from being in the fridge, stir through a bit of extra virgin olive oil to moisten.
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Brown onion finely chopped, about 1/10 of your peas by volume
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 part dried yellow peas, yellow split peas or yellow lentils
- 3 parts water
- Salt to taste
- Stick blender
- Heat up a splash of EVOO on medium heat in the saucepan. Saute/sweat the onions being sure that there’s enough EVOO to keep it moist until the onions are soft.
- Toss in the bay leaf and saute for 1-2 minutes to help draw out the oils.
- Add the yellow peas and water. Do not add salt as it will cause the peas to toughen and you want very soft peas.
- Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer with the lid off.
- Stir the pot about every 5 minutes or so to keep the mixture from catching.
- After about 20 minutes most of the liquid should be absorbed and the peas disintegrating. You may need to add a bit more water at this point as you don’t want the dish to go dry.
- The favas are done when it is a soft, mushy mess.
- Fish out the bay leaves and puree with the stick blender. Blend through a bit of EVOO to help smooth out the consistency.
- Taste and add salt to your liking.
- Serve warm with lashings of EVOO on the surface with crusty bread for dipping.
So my friends, what is a dish that you’ve added to your repertoire from your travels?