Sunday, March 13, 2011

Vicia faba, meet readers ...

Today I let in a little spark of hope. A tiny glimmer of spirit came out of hibernation and contemplated the possible arrival of spring.

As I sit and work with trusty assistant Napa, I peek outside. Outside, the snow is melting and the sidewalks peer through. The birds are back with their beautiful songs. And, this is the major indicator here, I could swear that through the open window, I smell the faintest hint of dog poo.

Trusty assistant Napa ...

Ever so gingerly, I then began to ponder the next six months. The upcoming seasons. Why you ask? What does it mean? Well dear readers, it means that for the next six months, yours truly will be as wide eyed, as delighted and as prancy (yes, I did just say prancy) as a baby lamb set free in a vast, rolling flower meadow.

It means that markets will be frequented with fervor, purveyors and farmers consulted for our daily menu and bountiful produce revered. It means endless, glorious, awesome gatherings around tables with loved ones. It means that I am happy.

To celebrate the possibility of spring, I would like to introduce you to a delicate, lovely gem which is symbolic of growth and regeneration with the arrival of spring.

Dear readers, I present to you, Vicia faba (also known as Fava bean).

Vicia faba, meet readers.

(Picture it ...Vicia faba ... no photo due to using them all up and forgetting to photograph them for post, blaming horrible memory ...)

Mini about faba: In Quebec, the lovely fava grows best in the Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean region which suits its desire for a cooler climate. This not so little pulse first originated in the Mediterranean over 8000 years ago and travelled to Quebec with Louis Hebert in 1618. Why do I know this you ask? Because at heart I am a research geek ( for this one, try not to laugh at me too hard yes?). It is incredibly good for you, and, incredibly tasty.

Time to dish.

This is a gorgeous recipe from BBC Food - A cook's year in France - adapted dish. style.

Elegant Fava & Spinach soup

Here is what you need ...
  • 2 big glugs of olive oil - yes I said glugs, you know what I mean...
  • a generous knob of butter - yes I said knob, you know what I mean...
  • one bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds of fresh fava beans
  • 1 spring potato, finely diced
  • 1 liter of tasty vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of cream or full fat milk
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 handful of sorrel leaves - this is optional but so worth it
  • lot's of your favorite lovely goat's cheese
  • fragrant Tarragon to garnish

Here is what to do ...
  1. Pull lovely favas out of their pods. Then, in a pot, heat oil and butter together and add the spring onion. Once the onion has softened, add the potato and continue to sautee for two to three minutes. Then add the stock, salt and pepper, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  2. Cook for twenty minutes or until the beans are tender. Remove from the heat and add the young spinach and sorrel reserving a few beautiful leaves for garnish. Using an immersion blender (or a regular one) blend the soup until smooth but still slightly bumpy.
  3. Plate, add the goats cheese, place under broil to melt slightly, remove, garnish with spinach, sorrel and tarragon and enjoy with crusty bread drizzled with olive oil.


  1. Napa is very photogenic : )
    I love soup any time of the season. Soup keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This looks like a simple no fuss recipe...will try soon...I did have to wikipedia spring potatoe = Red Potatoe

  2. @Hera - Isn't she? :)As do I. Cool :)