Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fava Bean Salad with Herbs--Greek Style

This simple salad comes from the Greek tradition. I found it in a book about Mediterranean food. I made this salad for the first time in the summer, two years ago, to serve with grilled meats. I think it turned out pretty good. Someone even asked me for the recipe. Recently, I made it again to use the rest of my most delicate herbs from my garden, which already suffered a few cold nights.

First time, I made this salad with Fava beans and mint, which the recipe called for. Since I am not a big fan of Fava beans, last time I used baby Lima beans (can be fresh or frozen) and I like this version better. I also replaced mint with the last harvest of dill from my herb garden.

Bean salads, especially this one, enriched with feta cheese, can be very filling. But chopped herbs (dill or mint) and lemon juice neutralized this sensation. In fact, I find this salad rather refreshing, although also nutritious.

Fava or Lima Bean Salad

2lb baby Fava or baby Lima beans (fresh or frozen),
juice from half a lemon,
lemon zest grated from one lemon,
1 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably Greek,
1 garlic clove, minced,
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil,
1/ 3 cup chopped chive,
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill or mint,
freshly ground pepper.

1. Cook beans in a large pot with a tbs of salt, until soft. Drain and cool down. Transfer to a serving bowl.
2. In a small bowl make dressing by whisking lemon juice, lemon peel, olive oil and pepper.
3. Add feta cheese, chives and dill or mint to the beans. Mix gently to coat the beans with feta and herbs.
4. Pour the dressing over the beans and again gently mix all the ingredients.

Leave in a refrigerator for 30 minutes to let the flavors infuse. Serve cold.

Sage Fried in Butter--To Top Fall Dishes

Even though I try to make my recipes as simple as possible and easy for everyone, I feel rather uncomfortable sharing such an obvious idea as my today's post. But it is worth talking about, as long as there is at least one person who has never tried fried sage leaves. They are absolutely lovely and worth trying especially if you happened to grow sage or have some spare sage leaves.

Sage is my favorite fall herb. I grow three large bushes of it in my garden and use for many seasonal recipes. When fresh, it is very aromatic and I like it just chopped, for instance added to meat sauces. Fried sage is crispy and still very fragrant and could provide a very intriguing finishing to many dishes. I particularly like it with all the pumpkin family vegetables, as a topping on some other vegetables, such as carrot or puréed potatoes, and of course on pasta and many Italian family noodles, like gnocchi. Try, experiment, and you cannot go wrong. If you ever wonder what to do with sage this may be the answer.

Sage Fried in Butter

one stick of good quality, high fat content, butter (about 115 g),
a bunch of fresh sage, about 20-30 leaves,

1. Place butter in a small non stick pot. Heat it until it bubbles and turns slightly gold.
2. Add sage leaves to the hot butter and fry them turning them with a wooden fork, until they curl and become kind of dried and light brown in color.

3. Drain the fried leaves on a colander.

Serve to finish fall dishes: