the appetizer:

Skinny Dips: 60 Recipes for Dips, Spreads, Chips, and Salsas on the Lighter Side of Delicious by Diane Morgan includes recipes like Green Mango Salsa; Curry Pumpkin Hummus; and Italian Fava Bean Purée with Dandelion Greens.

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Italian Fava Bean Purée with Dandelion Greens


Italian Fava Bean Purée
with Dandelion Greens

Makes 2-1/2 cups (600ml)


Dried fava/broad beans are meaty, nutty, and incredibly flavorful, as well as a powerhouse of protein, fiber, and iron. This coarse purée, topped with wilted greens, is a classic throughout southern Italy.

I used red-stemmed dandelion greens from the farmers' market to top this dip, but you could use other greens such as Swiss chard, curly endive, broccoli rabe (also known as rapini), or beet greens. Traditionally, the purée is swirled in the bowl to create a few moats that can hold a spoonful of olive oil; I skip this final flourish in order to keep the dip skinny, but you're welcome to drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil on top.

1. Place the fava/broad beans in a medium bowl, cover with water to a depth of 2in/5cm. And allow the beans to soak overnight.

2. Drain the beans and transfer them to a 4-qt/4-L saucepan. Add 5 cups/1.2 L of water. along with the garlic and thyme. Partially cover the pot and bring the beans to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook the beans, partially covered, at a bare simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 tsp of the salt and continue to cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very soft and partially broken down and can be easily mashed, about 1-1/2 hours. (Check the water level from time to time. Add a little more water, if necessary.)

3. Remove from the heat. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Using a food mill or a potato masher, finely mash the beans. Stir in 3 tbsp of the olive oil and 1-1/2 tsp of the salt. Add a tablespoon or so of the reserved cooking liquid, if needed, to give the purée a spreadable consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer to a shallow serving dish and set aside.

4. In a 10-in/25-cm sauté pan, preferably nonstick, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Swirl to coat the pan and add the dandelion greens. Sauté, stirring constantly, until the greens are wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Season with the remaining 1-1/2 tsp of salt, the crushed red pepper, and a little ground pepper. Arrange the greens in the center of the fava bean purée and serve immediately.

Dip Do-Ahead: This dip can be prepared up to 1 day In advance. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving. The greens can be cleaned, chopped, wrapped in paper towels/absorbent paper and placed inside a lock-top plastic bag up to 1 day in advance.

The greens are best when sautéed within 1 hour of serving.

Skinny Dippers: Bruschetta, Crostini


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This page created March 2011