“Goodbye my love, goodbye” or “shall we dance” and many others… This is it! I have been so immersed in Greek cuisine this month that Demis Roussos was blasting in my kitchen while I was preparing this recipe!
The only thing missing was the vinyl and I was almost transported to when I was 10 years old in the kitchen of my neighbor, Fernande, in my native Morocco!
If you have followed our blog for a while, you may have noticed that I am a blogger who loves to discover and rediscover new ingredients. I’m not shy, even when an ingredient looks weird. Must be my optimistic side!
But no, I assure you, this week I was not that reckless, and definitely not as reckless as Mike with his unpronounceable recipes like käsknöpfle, gboma dessi and akoumé, or waakye and nsonlo sutulu or his ingredients from another world like calamansi, chayote, or mung beans, to name a few!
For those of you who have never visited Greece and its many islands, I am sure you visualize a postcard scenery where a small church with a blue dome and white houses are perched on a cliff at the bottom of which is the beautiful blue sea. Well, this scenery is definitely the one of Santorini, formerly known as Thera!
What if I told you “Lathyrus clymenum”? This is the name of fava santorinis, an ingredient that I had never tasted or cooked before and which I used to prepare one of the most popular Greek dishes: fava santorinis also known as just fava (Greek: φάβα).
Fava is a type of legume that has an important role in the Greek diet. Like most legumes, it is traditionally eaten on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and is naturally very present during periods of fasting, like Orthodox Great Lent.
Contrary to what its name might suggest, it is not a bean but rather closer to a yellow split pea which cooks fast. There are various ways to enjoy fava: in soups, salads, patties, mashed, whether as a main dish or in mezedes. The traditional recipe is simply a fava puree.
Fava santorinis has grown on the island of Santorini for over 3,500 years and benefits since October 12, 2010 of a PDO or Protected Designation of Origin. PDO designates the name of a product whose production, processing and preparation must take place in a geographical area using a special savoir faire. And if you go shopping in Greece, this is what the label should read for these exceptional products: “Προστατευμένη Ονομασία Προέλευση – (ΠΟΠ)”.
You can obviously make this fava santorinis recipe with simple Mediterranean yellow split peas but I tried both and I can assure you that you will not find the taste and finesse of fava santorinis if you use substitutes. I had no trouble finding those in a Greek supermarket so I could prepare an authentic recipe.
For me, fava santorinis was a truly delicious discovery!
- 1 lb fava santorinis (yellow split peas, type Lathurus clymenum)
- 4 scallions , grated
- Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 lemon , squeezed
Wash favas, drain, and dry.
In a non-stick pan, heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté the onions for 3 minutes over low heat and sprinkle with sugar.
Add the favas and mix well. Sauté over medium heat for 1 minute. Cover with 4 times the volume in boiling water. Add salt and simmer for 45 minutes or until obtaining a puree.
Stir the juice of the lemon a few minutes before the end of cooking. Add pepper and drizzle with olive oil before serving.
Fava santorinis can be served plain or covered with fried onions, raw onions, capers, black olives, cherry tomatoes or parsley.