You know how when you get a new car suddenly you notice that same car everywhere? That’s what it’s like for me with food. I’ll think of a certain ingredient or dish and then I’ll notice it everywhere.
Lately it’s been fava beans. It started with the vineyards. Mustard may be the more famous ground cover, but this year, fava beans seemed to be everywhere or at least I’ve seen them everywhere.
So I shouldn’t have been surprised to find a bed of fava beans in the courtyard of the Sonoma mission, where I took Josh and Natalie during spring break. We had gone through the inside part of the mission pretty quickly and then hit the courtyard. While they played in the fountain, I walked around and found the fava beans. I was struck by how pretty the flowers were and how tiny the baby beans were.
Ironically, I never cook with fava beans. Call me lazy, but fava beans take so much work I use pre-shelled fresh edamame as a substitute whenever I want to make something with favas. It always feels a little like cheating, but after reading about Sandra Lee in New York magazine and seeing Tony Bourdain’s comment that her Kwanzaa cake was a “war crime,” I feel a little less guilty about my edamame switch.
Back to faking it, fava beans or not, this tasty spread can be made so quickly it’s become my go-to spring appetizer with flatbread crackers or crostini. I think it will become yours too.
Faux Fava Bean Spread
Serves 6 to 8
2 cups salted water
1 cup shelled fresh edamame beans
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Bring the salted water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the edamame and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
While the edamame are cooling, put the ricotta and garlic in the in the bowl of a small food processor. Add the edamame and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and then the lemon juice. Add the salt and pepper and pulse to combine. Serve.
What to drink. Sauvignon Blanc. With its racy acidity, Sauvignon Blanc is great with almost any food and it’s perfect as a before-dinner glass of wine. Splurge: Round Pond Sauvignon Blanc is one our faves. Everyday wine: Indulge Sauvignon Blanc in a bag. Yes, in a bag. Lots of citrus flavors and in a package that invites you to have a glass every night and the leftovers stay fresh.