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Greek fava with shrimps, fried capers and onions in saor

A classic Greek dish with some Italian elements.

ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 5€ pp)
  • salt
  • 250 g Greek fava
  • 1,3 litre homemade vegetable stock
  • 8 medium to large shrimps
  • 4 teaspoons capers
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 medium red onion
  • first quality white vinegar
  • 1,5 tsp sugar
  • EV olive oil
  • Basil oil for garnishing

Fava (yellow split pea) is a legume, very common in Greece, made from crushed dried nuts of Spanish vetchling. You can find it everywhere. The most famous fava is the one from Santorini, as the volcanic soil of the island gives the legume a very particular and strong taste.

Greeks usually serve fava cold, just with some oil, chopped parsley and pieces of raw onion. They just fuck it this way. Fava can be a great base to build more complicated dishes, like the one I present you today.

First of all we put the capers in abundant fresh water for at least 2 hours. Treating the capers this way we manage to reduce their extreme saltiness and also to eliminate the bad odours of the other additives. If we don’t have already made basil oil we also start to infusion basil flowers in olive oil.

We “wash” the fava adding a litre of boiling water over it, we mix and we let stand for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile we bring the stock to a boil, we add the bay leaf and the shrimps and we let them boil for 2-3 minutes. We remove the shrimps, we drain the fava and we add it into the pot with the stock. We lower the heat and we let the fava simmer till very tender. We must create a thick mixture like a polenta.

Meanwhile, in a hot pan we fry the capers in olive oil till crispy.

We remove them, we lower the temperature and we add the onions, cut in horizontal slices, the sugar and 2-3 tbsp vinegar. We continue cooking them, using very low temperatures till tender.

When the fava is ready we add 1 tbsp vinegar and 3-5 tablespoons olive oil (to make our fava shiny and attractive) and with the immersion blender we start turning it to cream.

BUT BEWARE. You know that I hate totally melted preparations. Such preparations have an industrial aspect and a boring taste and texture. Every bite is exactly like the previous. NO. Our purpose is the opposite. We want the bites to have micro-differences making our tongue to wait for the next one. So, I suggest that you don’t produce a homogeneous cream but a more coarse one, which will be more interesting during eating. We check the salt, adding some, if required.

We peel the shrimps and we pass them from a hot greased pan just for 5 seconds each side.

We put the fava on the plates adding 2 shrimps (or even more), some capers and onions above and we serve decorating with the basil oil.


Published in LEGUMES