Shell-less, peeled, blanched and quick freeze, fava beans are a popular ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine for salad, tartars, hummus and vegetarian dish.
Popular in the Mediterranean region of Europe, Lupini Beans are often found at Italian fairs and as an appetizer at Spanish beer halls. In the past Lupins were rarely used as a grain food due the the bitter taste from the high alkaloid content of the bean. In the the last 30 years a strain with reduced alkaloid content has been developed, called ‘sweet’ Lupins. This ‘sweet’ strain still requires soaking and extended cooking to remove the alkaloids. All this effort is worth it. The Lupins family of the grain legumes are one of the highest in protein content, second only to soy beans. Cover 1 cup beans in salted water and soak overnight. Bring 2 quarts fresh water to boil. Add rinsed beans and simmer for about 3 hours, until skins are smooth. Beans should be tender, yet still firm. Soak beans in salted water until bitterness goes away, changing water once daily. One cup dry yields 3 cups cooked.
The Fava Bean (Vica faba) is a flat, oval bean, 3/4 to 1 inch long, that grows in an inedible large pod. The Fava has an assertive, almost bitter earthy flavor and granular texture. These beans are also known as faba, broad, horse, English, scotch, field rounded, or Windsor beans. Favas were the only bean known to Europeans until the discovery of the new world. The Fava pedigree goes back to ancient Egypt as a staple in the diet of the pyramid builders, cultivation can be traced back to the bronze age in Switzerland and the iron age in Great Britain. Fava Beans must be peeled before eaten. A peeled Fava Bean is also called a Habas Bean. One cup dry yields 2-1/4 cups cooked.
It is a short grain variety with a pearled color. Its size is equivalent to that of the short grain rice, sometimes even smaller, yet Bomba rice more than doubles its size when cooked. Its main characteristic is its great capacity to absorb flavors and aromas and that when cooked it is always “al dente,” loose and whole.
The traditional Valencia rice, round short grain ‘Paella Rice’from Valencia (used to make paella). It is characterized by its great capacity of absorption and the creamy texture of the grain after being cooked. A perfect choice for typical Mediterranean dishes as rissoto, rice dishes.