Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fava-less Fava Dip 4-Evah

I love the look and flavor of fava beans, but the amount of work required to extract them from their pods inspires me to leave them off my shopping list, every time.  Fortunately I discovered a few years ago that pre-shelled frozen edamame beans make a great substitute, and bring much the same happy spring feeling to dishes and dips -- especially in this Mediterranean-inspired dip recipe, which has become a household staple.  If you're lazy AND cheap, rest assured that frozen edamame is also very inexpensive -- just slightly over $2 per 12-ounce bag at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

Edamame dip photo by Aida Mollenkamp on flickr.  I don't top my edamame dip
with sesame seeds, but I do enjoy it with whole wheat & flax pita chips like these.

I love to eat this lemony, garlicky dip while it's still warm, but the flavors actually improve if you can save some to eat the next day -- a big if, if you have friends like mine.  It's great with pretty much any kind of cheese, but my favorite combo is to top it with thin shavings of sheep cheese or truffle cheese (TJ's truffle cheese is a great option, if you're there).  You could also drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top, for another classic Mediterranean presentation.  Use it on sandwiches, crostini, crackers, or just your fingers. 

Edamame "Fava" Dip

1 12-oz bag frozen shelled edamame (already removed from the pod)
2 medium lemons
1 medium garlic clove
2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste (I prefer a grassier style for this recipe)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

1. Set a pot of water large enough to hold the entire bag of edamame on the stove, and bring to a rapid boil.
2.  While the water heats, zest the lemons (if desired), and extract their juice.
3.  Using the side of your chef's knife, mash the garlic clove with a pinch of coarse salt and grind it into a paste.
4.  Once the water is boiling, throw in the edamame.  Cover the pot, bring the water back to the boil, and cook for a few minutes until soft (usually about 4 minutes total from time you put in the edamame).  Drain edamame in a colander, then place them in a food processor.
5.  Add the lemon juice, lemon zest (if using), garlic paste, some freshly ground pepper and the salt, and process to a coarse paste, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary.
6.  Add the olive oil while the machine is running, stopping periodically to scrape down the sides and taste for texture and seasoning.  Add more olive oil if you want a creamier texture, and adjust salt and pepper levels to your taste.
7.  Feast.

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