0717 Tortilla with Beans

In honor of Spain’s recent win in the World Cup, I decided that I wanted to cook my way through a Spanish cookbook that has been lingering in my collection for several years.  I’m allowing myself to skip 10 (of 150+) recipes, with extra special dispensation given to pulpo gallego in honor of Paul the psychic octopus, who called the game in favor of España.  While I’ve made a few recipes from the cookbook, tonight marked the first meal since taking on this challenge.

AND unfortunately, it was a disappointment.  The fava beans were obviously past their prime, and so lacked the firm texture and fresh taste from earlier in the season.  The potatoes – harvested from our garden – crisped up nicely, but made for a super bland texture with the already bland beans.  The tortilla didn’t set in the middle, though I was able to easily invert it out and back into the pan.  We used medium eggs instead of extra large, which may have had something to do with how the dish set up, but shouldn’t have made THAT much of a difference.

I was also perplexed by the serving size.  The tortilla recipe on the facing page called for fewer extra ingredients beyond the classic eggs, onions, and potatoes, but served 4-6.  This recipe, intended to be served in cubes as tapas, was supposed to serve 2.  We both had generous portions topped with a lot of hot sauce, and still had more than half of the tortilla remaining.

I’m including the recipe below roughly as written, and would love your ideas for how to improve it.  Or maybe we’ll just stick with frittatas.

Tortilla with Beans
Adapted from Spanish

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
11 ounces waxy potatoes, cut into dice
1 3/4 cups shelled and peeled broad (fava) beans
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, oregano or summer savory
6 extra large eggs
3 tablespoons mixed chopped fresh chives and fresh Italian parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a deep non-stick frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and potatoes and stir to coat.  Cover and cook gently for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and the onions are translucent.  Add the beans and thyme (or oregano or summer savory) and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well and cook 2-3 minutes.  Beat the eggs with salt, pepper, and the remaining herbs.  Pour over the potatoes and onions and increase the heat slightly.  Cook until the egg sets on the bottom, pushing the tortilla away from the edge of the pan so that the uncooked egg can run underneath.  Cover the pan with a large plate and invert the tortilla out onto it.  Add the remaining oil to the pan, then slip the now upside-down tortilla back in and cook for 3-4 more minutes.  Serves 4-6.

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0713 Pasta with Favas, take three

Fava beans weren’t on the shopping list on Saturday, but an impulse buy from Tantré Farms turned into stocking up when the helpful market staffer told me that they’d just done the last fava pick of the season.  No more favas?!  But we just found a new favorite pasta dish!  No more favas for another year?!  Such is the heartbreak of seasonal eating.

When I started shelling the favas, however, I understood.  Gone – mostly – were the wee bright beans of early summer, now replaced with large green-yellow beans of indiscriminate texture.  They made for a fine pasta tonight, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the rest of them, and frankly, I’m a little disappointed.

I’m also disappointed that we didn’t take pictures of each iteration of the pasta with favas, sausage, and tomatoes, as I wish I could show you how much the beans have changed in just 6 weeks.  Alas, you’ll just have to wait until next year, when I’m bound and determined that we’ll be planting favas of our own.

Recipe:
Pasta with Favas, Tomatoes, and Sausage from Smitten Kitchen

0628 Pasta with Favas, take two

For our second go-round with this recipe, I made a few alterations – some improvements, others just alterations.  Last time I drained and used a jar of whole tomatoes from last summer – we’ve since run out of tomatoes and didn’t pick up enough from the market, so I used a can of diced tomatoes in sauce.  This made a big difference in the resulting  quantity and consistency of the sauce.

Sauteeing onions

Second, we didn’t have any white wine around, and I didn’t want to buy and then open a bottle for a measly 1/4 cup.  I made a dubious substitution, using the Pillar Box Red that has been open in the fridge for *cringe* almost two weeks.  While iffy to drink, it was perfectly serviceable in the sauce – in fact, I think I preferred it to the white, which may have been overly sweet.

Third, in an effort to use up pasta leftover from a potluck a few weeks ago, I used whole wheat angel hair instead of the fresh sheets of pasta that the recipe requests, or the wee shells we used last time.  I quite liked the way the sauce coated the pasta, and the way the angel hair broke up amidst the beans and sausages, but Shane preferred the shells, so we’ll probably go back to them next time.

Pasta with favas, sausage, and tomatoes

I also made the whole recipe instead of halving it, remembering that we’d devoured every last bite.  Had we not cleared the table and exercised some self control, I have no doubt that we could’ve put away the entire thing tonight.  Fortunately, however, good sense prevailed, and I’m really looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Recipe:
Pasta with Favas, Tomatoes, and Sausage from Smitten Kitchen

0525 Fava Beans, Sausage, Pasta

I bought fava beans at the coop late last week with no real idea of how to use them.  Or what they tasted like.  Or the fact that you have to peel them twice.  All I knew was that I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to figure out what the heck I could do with them.

A little internet research later, and I’d hit on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  In addition to being seasonal and lovely, it paired a new ingredient – the favas – with things we already had on hand – garlic and onion, tomatoes canned last summer, a package of sausage from our pig.  If I’d been more ambitious, I would’ve made pasta from scratch, but we stocked up on the dried stuff a few weeks ago, so we used small shells, an appropriate shape for catching the beans and sausage.

Apart from the double peeling of the favas, this dinner was proof that complex flavors don’t always necessitate hard work.  While the pasta water came to a boil, I sauteed the garlic and onion, then browned the sausage in the same pan.  While the pasta boiled, a bit of white wine simmered away, and then tomatoes and favas were added to the pan.  From start to finish, this recipe took about 30 minutes, and then we were treated to a bites of pasta cradling the nutty favas, savory crumbled sausage, and a delicate garlicky-wine sauce.

We’re out of favas now, but if I see more at the coop, you’d better believe I’ll be snapping them up.  We were both surprised by how much we liked this simple dish in general, and the favas in particular.  Perhaps we’ll do a Moroccan broad bean salad? Smashed beans on toast? Broad beans and pancetta?  So many recipes to try, and so few favas to eat.  Summer, you can’t come soon enough.

Recipe:
Pasta with Favas, Tomatoes, and Sausage from Smitten Kitchen