Skordalia apo Koukia
“Several of the Ikarians over 90 to whom I spoke when researching this book mentioned fava beans as one of the staples in the diets of their youth. They cooked both the fresh and dried beans in the same ways, as stews and in garlicky skordalia, a classic Greek dip. Elsewhere in Greece, skordalia is made more commonly with either bread (page 000) or potato. Note, too, that by fresh favas, I refer to shelled favas. It is near impossible to find whole fresh favas in the pod at American markets,” says Diane Kochilas, chef and author of Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die.
- 2 pounds shelled fresh or frozen fava beans or 1 pound / 450 g split dried fava beans (see Note)
- 1 russet (baking) or Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 cm chunks
- Sea salt
- 4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2/3 to 1 cup extra virgin Greek olive oil, or more, as needed
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- For fresh fava puree: Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and blanch the fava beans until the skins puff up, about 3 minutes. Remove and drain. Press each fava between your thumb and index finger and squeeze out the bean and discard the membranes.
- Place the potato in a pot and cover with cold water. Season with 1 scant teaspoon salt. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until about halfway cooked. Add the favas and a little more water if necessary to keep covered. Cook until the beans and potatoes are very tender, about another 10 minutes. Remove and drain, reserving the cooking liquid.
- Reserving the cooking liquid, drain the favas and potatoes and transfer the solids to a food processor or in a large mortar, to be mashed by hand with a pestle.
- Pulse or mash the fava-potato mixture with the garlic. Continue either pulsing or mashing and, in alternating doses, drizzle in the olive oil, a little of the reserved cooking liquid, and vinegar until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt.
- For dried fava puree: Place the dried favas in a colander and rinse well. Transfer to a large pot, add enough water to cover by 1 inch / 2.5 cm, and bring to a boil. Skim any foam that rises to the top. Cook the favas for about 15 minutes, or until tender but al dente. Add the potatoes and 1-teaspoon salt. Simmer until the favas and potatoes are soft and almost all the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 more minutes.
- Reserving the cooking liquid, drain the favas and potatoes. Process or hand-mash as for the fresh fava version.
- Note: Dried fava beans come in several forms in the U.S. You can find them whole in the shell and dried in Greek shops, but these are laborious to clean, requiring overnight soaking, peeling, and then removal of the black “eye” on one side of the beans. You can find split-dried favas in Middle Eastern grocery stores. These are much easier to use and cook up in a fraction of the time.
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