Santorini "Fava"

"Fava" is a dish you find in virtually every taverna on the famous island of Santorini in Greece.  Garnished with onions and capers, it serves as a dip but also as a side to fish, seafood or meat, in place of something like potato mash.  Fava is very versatile, nutritious and a staple of Greek cuisine.

  Santorini, Oia, island, Greece, village, whitewashed, Cyclades, Aegean, church 

Santorini fava puree has nothing to do with fava beans, but is made of a special variety of yellow split peas grown in the arid, volcanic soil of Santorini and other Aegean islands that has quite a different taste from the yellow split peas sold in supermarkets.  You can buy this variety simply called "fava" from many online suppliers of Greek foods or in certain specialty stores and delis carrying Greek products.

Here is how to prepare this most versatile puree that is delicious eaten like a Greek kind of hummus or served alongside fish, vegetable and meat dishes. 

 Santorini, fava, ingredients, bay leaf, dip, hummus

 INGREDIENTS

300g fava yellow split peas

1 medium brown onion

1 bay leaf 

30 ml Opus olea extra virgin olive oil (plus more to drizzle)

1 carrot

fresh lemon juice to taste

unprocessed Opus "fleur de sel" sea salt to taste

GARNISH

chopped red onion

capers, drained

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

fava, Santorini, capers, dip, Greek, hummus, olive oil, lemon, yellow split peas, dhal

PREPARATION

Place the fava split peas into a sieve and rinse well under running water until water runs clear. 

Place washed fava into a pot and cover with fresh water above the fava by about 2-3 centimeters. Add the peeled brown onion whole or cut in half, a bay leaf and the peeled carrot and bring to a slow boil. 

You will see that after a few minutes a white thick foam will start forming on the surface of the boiling water.  Use a spoon or ladle to gently remove this foam for the next few minutes.  Reduce temperature to a slow simmer and cook for about an hour until fava is cooked through and has formed a thick puree.  Stir often during the cooking time as it can stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.  Once cooked, let cool a little and then you can use an immersion blender to blend the onion and carrot into the puree.  Stir in your extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice.  Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. 

Garnish with chopped onion and capers, or with caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes.  Drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil.

Serve like you would a hummus or as a "bed" to a salmon filet or any other fish filet.

 salmon fillet on a bed of Santorini fava puree