Moroccan puree of fava beans (byesar)

Yield: 1 batch

Measure Ingredient
½ pounds Dried fava beans
3 \N Garlic cloves; peeled
1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
\N \N Best quality olive oil
\N \N ;A little water
\N \N Salt; to taste
¼ teaspoon Za'atar or thyme or
\N \N Marjoram or oregano

The night before, soak fava beans in 3 to 4 times their volume of cold water. Discard any favas that float.

The following day, drain, skin and cover with fresh water. Cook gently, with the garlic and cumin seeds, until the beans are tender (about 2 hours, depending upon the age and quality of the beans).

Drain.

Puree the beans in a food mill or an electric blender. Stir in enough olive oil, and a little water, to give the puree a soupy consistency.

Sprinkle with salt to taste and beat well. Heat just before serving with a little more olive oil and a sprinkling of crushed za'atar.

Serve with Arab bread and a bowl of "mixed spices" (ground cumin, cayenne and salt).

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Wolfert writes: "Byesar is the North African cousin of the famous Middle Eastern hummous made of chick-peas. It is a dish for the lovers of olive oil, a soupy mixture best eaten with Arab bread.

First you sprinkle some mixed spices on your bread, then dip it into the byesar and scoop the puree into your mouth. The dish is so popular among Berbers that Madame Guinaudeau, in her book on Fez cooking, was able to record the following conversation: "A gentleman from Fez to a Berber mountaineer: 'What would you do if you were the sultan?'

"The mountaineer's reply: 'I would eat byesar every day.'" "In Tangier byesar is made with split green peas and scallions, and in some parts of the country it is cooked with cabbage and flavored with paprika, cumin, garlic, and salt.

"The best byesar is laced with olive oil made from green, unripe olives."

From "Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco" by Paula Wolfert. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1987. ISBN 0-06-091396-7. Pp. 92-93.

Posted by Cathy Harned.

Submitted By CATHY HARNED On 10-17-94

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