This is the second of my “Lunchtime” posts. You may remember my first, Tuscan Toast with Goat Cheese, Pea Shoots and Blackberries. This is where I share my odd-ball lunches, in the hopes that you may find them kind of delicious too!
We ate a lot of fava beans when I was young, mostly in the form of Foul Medames. These days, I love experimenting with fresh favas. Fava beans have a lot of flavor. They are nutty, buttery and slightly bitter. You can find them fresh in stores in the spring and early summer. Try to choose the largest pods. They are usually the better tasting beans. If you cannot find them fresh, look for frozen fava beans. They are just as delicious. Fava beans have a reputation for being difficult; they do need to be shelled and peeled from their skins, but it really does go quickly. Read how to prepare them below.
I love smoked salmon for so many reasons. Mostly, it reminds me of my Dad…he would order a whole side of salmon during the holidays (and we’d devour it!). But, really, it’s hard to resist its rich, buttery flavor that can become an appetizer, breakfast or…lunch! I knew I wanted to do something different with this salmon. Typically, I love just a light smidge of cream cheese or butter on a toasted bread or a flatbread crisp, but today, I wanted to lighten things up and be creative. I had some favas and decided to combine the two. To bring them together, I used a bit of dill. Dill compliments both fava beans and salmon perfectly.
Mashed Fava Beans and Smoked Salmon Flatbread
Mashed Fava Beans:
2 cups fresh or frozen fava beans, shelled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon dried dill or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper
your choice of flatbread, bread or crackers (I use Wasa Crisp n’ Light Flatbread)
lemon wedge for squeezing on top
In a small pot, bring about 3 cups of water to a boil and add a bit of salt and the fava beans. Cook for just one minute. Remove and drain. Rinse with cold water and shell the beans from their tough outer shell. Pick apart just a bit of the outer skin, then pop the bean right out. Discard the hard skins.
Place the beans in the bowl of a food processor. Add the olive oil, lemon zest and juice and the dill. Pulse until the mixture is creamy, but still a bit chunky. Add the salt and pepper to taste and scoop the mixture into a bowl. I like to drizzle with a bit of olive oil on top and maybe a sprinkling of additional lemon zest and dill.
To assemble, spread a bit of the mashed fava beans on a flatbread, top with one or two slices of smoked salmon, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon on top and maybe some black pepper, dill or even a small dollop of additional fava.
- The Mashed Fava Bean can be served on crostini, in a bowl surrounded with pita chips or along side crackers as an appetizer.
- Use the best quality of olive oil you can for this. It makes all the difference. I was fortunate to receive a gorgeous and delicious bottle from the makers of Calivirgin recently. It’s truly the most delicious olive oil I’ve ever tasted!