I have just started dabbling into regional Italian cuisine, trying to find ways to make it healthier and lighter, and already discovered plenty of delicious dishes I didn’t even heard about before. Shame on me. One example is this puree of fava beans (or broad beans), a typical dish from the Italian region Salento and Lucania, for many years was considered “poor people food”. The poorer families of southern Italy would cook it to keep the budget low and the stomach full. Today this puree is in vogue again, reconsidered and re-evaluated from popular chefs like Rick Stein also because of the high nutritional value of fava beans.
Rich in protein and very versatile, this dish is a staple of the rural Italian cuisine: low-cost and nutritious at the same time. Besides, it’s easy to prepare. A symbol of minimalism in the kitchen and simplicity with character.
In Puglia is often accompanied with boiled chicory or turnip greens but since broad beans have a pungent and quite bitter taste I skipped the green vegetables, added some mint to dash a fresh tingly feeling in the mouth and opted for slices of toasted bread to turn it in a healthy spread and a delicious appetizer. Why not just dig a spoon in it? Or taste it with drizzle of olive oil on top of spicy croutons? Both the options tasted great to me.