Farmers Tom and Patrice DeNoble, of DeNoble’s Farm, are really into total plant utilization. It seems that waste not means delicious things for Farmers Market shoppers, as they encourage us to venture with our vegetables into parts of the plant seldom found outside the farm or the Farmers Market. Brussels sprout leaves, then Brussels sprout rapini were welcome additions to my veggie repertoire this past winter, and for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been munching on sweet, crunchy fava bean tops.
“Try a flower,” Tom encourages as I select a bundle. As the flavors build on my palate, he narrates, “they’re sweet, then there’s the subtle bean flavor.” The bean flavor lingers, with a soft spring green taste, akin to eating pea shoots.
“How do you eat them?” I ask – this is a great question to ask when buying any vegetable direct from a farmer – they not only grow the products, but they have a lot of experience cooking and eating them, so they’re likely to have at least a few suggestions.
“We just eat them raw, as a salad, or on sandwiches,” Patrice offers. Fair enough – not earth shattering, but as sweet and lovely as they are, that seems like the right thing to do. I follow suit. I eat salads, I stuff some into a pita with my falafel, I send them to work with my husband on sandwiches (and snicker at the thought of him in the lunchroom, sitting elbow to elbow with fellow butchers, muscling through a roast pork and fava bean leaves…with flowers…sandwich).
Fava shoots can be used as you would pea shoots – a very light sauté, really just a jump or two in a skillet with some heated good-flavored olive oil and a sprinkling of flor de sal, yields a silkily tender plate of greens. Or wilt them into hot pasta as you stir in the sauce. Fresh fettuccine and spring salmon in a light lemon cream sauce with fava shoots, perhaps? Garnished with the delicate flowers….
I think I know what I’ll be getting at the Portland Farmers Market tomorrow!
- farm eggs for fresh pasta…or fettuccine from Nona’s Noodles
- spring salmon from Simon Sampson @ Columbia River Fish Company
- a lemon or two from Raynblest Farm (oh, didn’t I tell you that Raynblest is now selling lemons at the Portland Farmers Market?! I know, I was bowled over myself. Stay tuned for a proper post on the citrus scene at Portland Farmers Market!)
- fresh cream from Lady-Lane Farm
- fava bean shoots from DeNoble’s Farm