Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Meatless Monday: Fattoush and Fava Beans

I love the idea of Meatless Monday, but it doesn't always happen.  My goal is to make at least two vegetarian meals each week, sometimes I make more.  Whenever I make kofte kebab, I always have leftover pita bread.  It doesn't keep for very long and it's too tasty to let go bad.  Making fattoush is a good way to use up leftover pita, and it's healthy!  Fattoush is a bread salad made with cucumber, tomato, onion, and herbs. The recipe I used from Arabesque also included romaine and mixed greens. The dressing is made with lemon juice, sumac, salt, and pepper.   I have a "sour tooth" so I love using lemon juice in salad dressing.  One of the many things that drew me to Middle Eastern cooking was that lemons are a popular ingredient.  Ever since I started experimenting with Middle Eastern food, I buy up to six lemons a week, it's awesome.

The side dish is a result of an impulse buy.  I was on my way to the green beans when I saw the fava beans.  I had no idea what to do with them at the time.  I boiled them for 5 minutes and sauteed them with some canned artichokes I had in the pantry, a little crushed red pepper, and a little too much harissa.  I'd definitely do it again since it was so easy, but I'd go easier on the harissa.  They were too spicy for my husband and almost too spicy for me.  

I modified the recipe a little.  I only used romaine lettuce, and instead of cutting it in strips 1/2 inch thick, I sliced them thinly.  I seeded the tomato.  I used a regular cucumber since my grocery store doesn't carry the small ones.  I added some chives.  Lastly, I made a full recipe of the dressing and a half recipe of the salad.  This was a good decision because 1 lemon's worth of juice was barely enough for the salad.

Here's an easy way to thinly slice mint and other leafy herbs:  stack a few leaves on top of one another, roll them up, and thinly slice the roll as if you were slicing a green onion.  Then unroll the strips!  It works with the romaine, too. 
From Arabesque
Serves 2

2 large pita breads
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into thick slices
1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
4 scallions, sliced
A good handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 large sprigs of mint, julienned
Juice of 1 lemon
1/8 c olive oil (I used a little less)
1 Tbsp sumac (maybe some extra if you think it needs it). 
salt and pepper

1) Split the pita breads and broil them until they are crispy.  Watch them carefully or they'll burn!  Break the crispy pitas into small pieces. 
2) Mix the cucumber, bell pepper, scallions, and herbs together in a bowl.  
3) In a separate bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, sumac, salt, and pepper. 
4)  Toss the pita chips with the vegetables.  (I reserved some of the chips to sprinkle around the plate).  Toss the vegetables and pita chips with the dressing and serve. Sprinkle with extra sumac at the table if you want.

Fava Beans and Artichoke Hearts with Harissa
Original recipe
Serves 2

8-10 pods of fresh fava beans
half a can of artichoke hearts in brine or water (not the marinated kind), halved
red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp harissa
1 Tbsp olive oil

1) Boil the fava bean pods for 5 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool enough for you to touch them.  Split the pods open and remove the beans.  Remove the skin from each bean, it should slide off easily.
2) Heat the olive oil in a small skillet.  Add beans and artichoke hearts.  Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and stir in harissa.  Saute for 3-5 minutes.  Serve!


Elizabeth said...

Once again, very creative!

Scienter said...

Thanks! If you like the idea of fava beans, but not the spicy sauce, leave out the harissa and pepper flakes and add a chopped shallot and some ground marjoram. It's not Middle Eastern, but it's not peppery and just as good!

Michelle said...

. . .and a nice chianti? :D

Needs a side of braaaaains!


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