It´s always good to know that come what May, the arrival of favas (broad beans)and ervilhas ( peas) is always eagerly awaited, for they are the first produce of the season and a sign of more abundant produce to come.They hold high ranking in the Algarve´s culinary heritage and are used subtly and creatively with cooking methods varying from place to place and from family to family.The finest example of their application is "Favas à Algarvia." This is lovely to make in the short season when broad beans are young and fresh.It can be a little laborious on account of podding and peeling the beans,but alternatively in my mind rather therapeutic. I like to peel away the outer skin of each par-boiled bean, even if it means extra work.The beautiful intense green of the beans keep their colour if added to the pan towards the end of the cooking.The way they are combined with some of the regions cured meat, Toucinho ( pancetta ) and Chouriço de porco preto (chouriço sausage from the acorn fed black pig), is like strawberries and cream, a marriage made in heaven.
"Favas à Algarvia"
500g (1lb) shelled fresh (or frozen) favas (broad beans)
(about 3kg/6lb12oz in their pods)
2 tbsp olive oil
160g (53/4 oz) Chouriço sausage,chopped
1 small red onion,chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
125ml(4 fl oz /1/2 cup ) white wine
handful of mint and coriander leaves torn
splash of red wine vinegar
Rinse the shelled beans and put them(or the frozen beans if using) in a pan of lightly salted boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes.Drain and peel off the outer skins.many of them will split in half but that´s fine.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and sautée the sausage chunks for a couple of minutes.Add the onion and cook,stirring,for a few more minutes until the mixture is sticky and the sausage is brown.
Add the garlic and stir until you start to smell it,then add the white wine and a couple of twists of pepper.Cook until the wine has evaporated a bit,then stir in the broad beans and cook for acouple of minutes over a high heat so the flavours mingle.There should be just a bit of sauce in the bottom of the pan.Stir in the mint and coriander at the end with a splash of red wine vinegar.Check for seasoning and serve warm as side dish.