Friday, May 16, 2008

Favas and Other Santorini Specialities

Greek favas are not the painstaking cloudy-sheathed green ones, nor their dried counterpart fatter than thumbnails. These favas are tiny, like moong dal if not actually moong dal: yellow and referred to by many Greeks as chickpeas.

I had been fooled by this faux ami week before in Brooklyn, ordering favas with cilnatro and imagining a pile of green filled with vitamins after a week of whole wheat crackers and camomile tea (all my belly could handle), and here I was again with a hummus-like dip in front of me.

And damn was it good.

We had favas at nearly every stop. Whipped up into a near-soapy mess at Captain Dmitri's and drenched in olive oil, above, at our fabulous hotel Ikies.

After a trip to the lighthouse and pictures on a crumbling-into-the-sea-quickly cliff, we stopped at a road side stand. The woman piled small plates high with capers, caper leaves, olives, and honey. She gave us tiny glasses of regional sweet wine and then a taste of the dry. She pointed out the gorgeous gems of canned produce - tomatoes, caper leaves, grapes, olives - all from the farm behind her, and I tried to explain in my slowest English that we just had carry-on bags. This was lost on her, but we left with a self-corked bottle that came straight from a blue barrel and a bag of favas still with the stones in them.

"You boil ..." she started, as Liam paid out the 6 euros for this bag, "4 of water, 1 of fava" she continues with the other necessary ingredients "2 of oil" (pointing at our shot glasses sticky with wine residue), "not garlic, you scrape" and we offer onion, which she agrees to ... "yes," she concludes, "yes, that's it."

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