Have you ever heard of fava or the fava bean? Also known as the broad bean, fava is common in the Mediterranean basin and present in many cuisines from this region.
Turkish cuisine is no exception. In Turkey, fava beans are prepared several ways.
The dark green, slightly furry beans are cooked whole with olive oil and some sugar and served cold topped with plain yogurt. Sometimes the fuzzy pod is discarded and the light green beans with a black "dorsal" stripe are cooked on their own.
My favorite recipe for Turkish fava is a puree made from the dried inner pulp of the fava bean. The dried beans have no hulls and are boiled with water and spices and pressed through a strainer together with olive oil to make a thick paste.
When the paste sets, it's cut into decorative cubes or diamond shapes and garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh dill. Fava puree is one of my favorite Turkish appetizers, or "meze" from the Aegean region and a good example of Turkish regional cuisine.
You can find dried fava, or broad beans at Middle Eastern and Greek grocers, whole foods markets and sometimes in the Latin section of your supermarket.
Try this easy recipe for Turkish fava puree as an appetizer, or alternative to salad.
Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012