Friday, March 14, 2008

Recipes: Santorini Fava Pie with Tomatoes, Capers, and Eggs & Fava Pantremeni (Σαντορίνη Φάβα Πίτες με Ντομάτες, Κάπαρης και Αυγά & Φάβα Παντρεμένη)

Let’s clear up the linguistic confusion first.

In English, fava refers to Vicia faba, large beans in long green pods that are also known as broad beans or horse beans in English (in Greek, they're called koukia). This article is not about Vicia faba.

Today I’m writing about
Greek fava, Lathyrus clymenum L., a variety of yellow split pea that has been grown on the Aegean island of Santorini for at least 3500 years. In Greek, the word “fava” can refer to either the dried split peas or the appetizer spread that is made from them.

Although fava is grown across Greece, Santorini fava are slightly sweeter than those grown elsewhere and are widely considered to have superior flavor. Santorini is also famous for its
“waterless” tomatoes and its capers; Santorini Fava Pie uses all three ingredients.

The crust for the pie is made from puréed fava, and is a good way to use up leftovers. To make the crust, cooked fava is mixed with semolina flour, pressed into a tart pan, and baked until it’s slightly crispy. Baked fava develops a wonderfully nutty flavor that enhances the filling ingredients. Because it doesn’t need to be rolled out, fava crust is simple to make.

Puréed fava is also the base of Fava Pantremeni, or “Married” Fava. The name refers to the wedding of fava and capers, two very compatible ingredients, in a single dish. The below recipe for Fava Pantremeni is based on a dish we ate last summer at
Logia tis Ploris, an Athenian fish taverna.

Although it's difficult to find fava outside of Greece, yellow split peas are a fine substitute.

Santorini Fava Pie with Tomatoes, Capers, and EggsSantorini Fava Pies with Tomatoes, Capers, and Eggs (Σαντορίνη Φάβα Πίτες με Ντομάτες, Κάπαρης και Αυγά)
Serves 6 as an appetizer
Adapted from
Simply Plated 2

Crust:
1 1/2 cups fava purée (see recipe below)
6 – 10 Tbsp. semolina flour

Tomato Filling:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions, cut in quarter moon slices
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper (optional)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, or 1 1/2 cups fresh, with juices
1/4 cup water
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. oregano
3 Tbsp. minced sun-dried tomatoes in oil or 1 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. capers, preferably salted, rinsed and soaked

6 eggs

Make the Crust: Taste the fava purée and add salt, pepper, or oregano, as needed; the crust should be well-seasoned or the pie will be bland. Stir in 6 Tbsp. of semolina flour, and additional flour as needed to make dough that is the texture of thick mashed potatoes; the amount of flour depends on the moisture level of the fava purée. Taste again to make sure the seasoning is correct. (This can be made ahead.)

Make the Filling: Sauté the onions, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in the olive oil until the onions soften and start to turn golden. Stir in the Aleppo pepper and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, water, bay leaves, and oregano. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn off the heat and stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and capers. Taste and add salt or freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
(This can be made ahead.)

Make the Pie: Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Light grease 6 small tart pans (I prefer 4.5” tart pans with removable bottoms). Divide the fava dough between the pans. Press out the dough to completely cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the crusts are lightly browned and crispy around the edges. Turn down the oven to 350°F.

Fill each baked crust with tomato filling, making an indentation in the filling that is deep enough to hold an egg. Crack an egg into a small bowl and carefully pour it into the indentation. Repeat until all the eggs are used. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or just until the eggs are set; the yolks should be runny and the whites soft. Remove pies from the tart pans and serve immediately.

Fava PantremeniFava Pantremeni (Φάβα Παντρεμένη)
If you don’t have access to Greek fava, yellow split peas are the best substitute I’ve found.

Fava Purée:
1/2 cup Santorini fava or yellow split peas
6 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup diced onion, 1/4” dice
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups water
1 tsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Pantremeni Ingredients:
1/2 cup diced onion, 1/8” dice
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 tsp. oregano
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and dried
1/4 cup diced tomatoes, 1/8” dice
(optional)

Make the Fava Purée: Put the fava in a strainer and rinse under cold running water. Sauté the onions, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in 1/4 cup olive oil until the onions soften and start to turn golden. Stir in the rinsed fava and water, bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the fava turns into a thick purée. Stir the fava regularly to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan, particularly towards the end of the cooking time.

When the fava is the thickness you desire, turn off the heat and stir in the oregano, lemon juice, and remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Taste and add salt, as needed. Cover with a dish towel and let cool to room temperature.
(At this stage, the purée is ready to be used in Santorini Fava Pie, above.)

Make the Fava Pantremeni: Stir the diced onion, lemon juice, and olive oil into the Fava Purée. Spread the purée out on a plate. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the oregano over the purée, then the capers, and then the tomatoes (if using).

Serve with a bowl of olives and crusty bread, or as part of an appetizer spread.
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This is my entry for My Legume Love Affair – 9th Edition (MLLA9), created by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook, which I am hosting in March 2009.

18 comments:

Cakelaw said...

I could dig into that fava pie with the egg on top right now - yum!

Peter G said...

I love the fava pantremeni. Great combination with the capers. Absolutely delicious.

Peter M said...

I do enjoy split peas but I think the Islanders are up to some good marketing of their "sweeter" split peas. Their "ntomatinia" however,are fabulous!

The tart shell sounds fabulous.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Thanks for the link to the Greek fava and for the delicious introduction. When I first saw this I was thinking of the fava beens I get in the spring -- the large green ones that look like lima beans. I've got to hunt for the Greek ones now.

Alanna Kellogg said...

Just fascinating - thanks so much for all the background, I'm a big fan of yellow split peas (often used in Scandinavian dishes) but haven't had much luck with fava beans -- so at first, didn't "get" how fava beans would make a good crust ingredient!

Thanks for bringing pie to Pi Day!

Kalyn said...

This sounds wonderful. I love the idea of this type of crust, since I try to avoid white flour but like savory pie a lot.

Ivy said...

Would you believe that I've never had fava before, in Greece. We had it as a soup in Cyprus but I'm ashamed to say that I haven't tried the Greek fava. You've inspired me to try it.

Sam Sotiropoulos said...

When I brought some of my own fava over to my father-in-law's home one evening, he laughed at me and told me fava was what his family was reduced to eating during the German Occupation in the Second World War and that he has not had it since!

As for the "sweetness" of the Santorin fava... I have to agree with Peter M. and admit I am a little skeptical... I've been to Santorini 3 times and stayed for as long as two weeks (which is a long long time for such a small island), so I am quite familiar with their fava and to be honest, I found no difference in flavour between the fava they made and the fava I make at home.

Lisa said...

How interesting...and exotic! It makes my mouth water. Thanks for sharing!

Laurie Constantino said...

Gaye, the yolk makes a little sauce for the pie, which is so good!

Peter G, it really is delicious.

Peter M, a few months ago I did an experiment because I have always been extemely dubious about Santorini's claim to have the best fava. I cooked some Santorini fava, some generic fava, some yellow split peas, some mung bean dal, and some red lentils all the same way. We then blind taste tested them and the Santorini fava came out on top as having the best flavor and as tasting a little sweeter (as did the yellow split peas as the best American substitute). I was surprised because I was expecting not to be able to tell the difference between the two favas.

Susan, that is exactly why I started with the linguistic explanation - it is very confusing.

Alanna, yep, there's that fava/fava confusion again!

Kalyn, it's texture isn't like a flour crust, but it is very tasty.

Ivy, you should definitely try the Fava Pantremeni; it is one of my favorite meze.

Sam, I know the war was hard. A man from my church was telling me about scrabbling for horta and people dropping dead in the streets from starvation. For me, horta is one of my favorite dishes - it's all a matter of perspective. As for the taste of Santorini fava, like I said to Peter, I only accepted the characterization after taste testing. I agree the taste difference is not great, and that all fava tastes wonderful to me.

Lisa, mouth watering is good - glad you liked it!

mimi said...

your pie looks absolutely delish, i'm a sucker for eggs and now i am definitely marking this for the future, when the tomatoes are in season at the market!

Allergy Mom said...

Just when I thought I'd seen all the original pie crusts, I get inspired again! Thanks for sharing the fava/split pea crust recipe! Libby

Maria V said...

we love fava in our house - it's part of our pulses staples weekly diet. the capers look great - shich reminds me, it is alomst time to pick the wild ones on the roadside very soon!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I am blown away by that pie--it looks absolutely delicious! Also, good pointers about the fava...this looks like a beautiful way of showing it off!

Laurie Constantino said...

Mimi, mmm, fresh tomatoes in season - now that's a wonderful thought!

Libby, the best thing is that it can be made with leftovers.

Maria, pick some for me! I was just thinking of pickling some caperberries this year, as that is all that is left by the time we get to Greece.

Mike, I saw the recipe awhile ago and hadn't been able to get its image out of my mind. It was fun to make.

maybahay said...

oh, the pie with the egg on top looks scrumptious. med food is really amazing-the wholesome ingredients, brilliant flavours. yum!

manju said...

I heard about Pi Day on NPR, it's great to see such a wonderful entry for the celebration! I love all the vegetarian selections you've been featuring, but this one went to the top of the must-try list.

Laurie Constantino said...

Maybahay, you've just described how I feel about Asian food - great ingredients, wonderful flavors, yum!

Manju, hey, it's Lent (Orthodox Easter isn't until next month). I'm not a strict faster, but I do try to cut down on the meat.