If you have never had the pleasure of trying fresh fava beans, an easy way to incorporate them into your dinner is to make a fresh summer succotash. Top the succotash with a piece of crispy seared fish, and you have a very satisfying meal. Succotash is an American dish traditionally made with corn and lima beans. It was popular during the great depression because of its relatively inexpensive ingredients. Through the years it has been modified in all sorts of ways, taking on the preferences and cultures of the people making it.
It wasn’t until I was older that I saw fresh fava beans still in the pod. After shelling one, I was so surprised by their beautiful pale creamy green color.
A fresh summer succotash is very simple to make, and can be made with whatever you have on hand or growing in your garden.
I happened to have a poblano and a jalapeno pepper, so I used them both up. You could leave out the jalapeno if you are not a fan of spicy fare. You could also add or substitute zucchini or summer squash, green beans, eggplant or tomatoes. If you don’t have access to fava beans, fresh green beans, any fresh summer bean, or even frozen lima beans work well. There are no rules.
Shelling a fava bean is very much like shelling a pea pod. You just tug on little string and pull it down and the pod opens up easily. Inside there are four to five plump creamy green colored beans. It really doesn’t take long to shell them from their pods.
Now I have to admit, for this recipe, I did not remove the second skin. This is up to you. To soften the skin a bit, I sautéd them for a few minutes with the onion and garlic and added a generous splash of veggie stock and simmered on low for 7 minutes. Then I added the rest of the ingredients.
Coat your fish or tofu with a flavorful spice mix
The coating for the fish ( or tofu) is a mix of flour, coriander, salt and pepper and a little corn meal for a good crunchy texture.
For our dinner, I chose sea bass for myself, and halibut for Brian. Brian is not a fan of super oily fishes like sea bass, and the halibut was a great substitution for him. He did however eventually venture over to my plate and try the sea bass, and to my surprise, liked it too.
In a hot skillet, with a mix of canola oil and olive oil, brown the coated fish on all sides. If they are a particularly thick cut like these, place in a warm oven for a few minutes until your desired doneness.
The onions, garlic, fava beans, peppers and corn were sauteed until tender. Once seasoned, toss in a little chopped cilantro and squeeze of citrus right before serving. Place some succotash on the bottom of your bowls or plates.
Top with your fish or tofu and garnish with lime and a few cilantro sprigs. I actually really like this dish with the coriander tofu. It has good flavor and good texture.