Recipe: Fava Bean Spread with Wild Flounder and Roasted Eggplant



The US Open is in full swing and I’ve been boring my wife and small, pre-linguistic, son with endless tennis viewing on ESPN and CBS (I’ve also been watching online at where pretty much every match is streamed live for free – this is why the web is awesome and nobody makes money!).  As most folks know, Nadal and Federer are the superstars of the tennis world given their mesmerizing athletic ability, keen knack for developing points, and great shot making ability (this is fancy talk for the ability to hit a tennis ball very hard and keep it within the white lines!).  While Nadal and Federer are the superstars of their sport I started thinking about who or what would be the equivalent of the superstars of the food world.  

At first, I gravitated towards the mighty pig; the succulent and delicious beast that manifests itself like an extra large pink tootsie roll with four legs and a strange, non functional, tale.  Thereafter, I thought of wheat flour – the all purpose ingredient that has birthed delicate pasta and noodles and crunchy bread and soft naan (a staple for folks living in India).  However, my mind finally settled on two delectable beans that I’ve enjoyed since the age of five or so: lentil and fava (I swear I have a photo of my mother cramming homemade lentil soup down my throat in the attic).   Lentils are full of protein and fiber and have a wonderfully complex taste (see my lentil soup recipe).  Fava beans, one of the oldest cultivated plants on the planet, are buttery, satisfying, and have even been used as alternatives to such drugs as Viagra!

fava bean

If I had to pit the fava bean versus the lentil I would have to choose the fava bean.  Fava beans come across as having a richer flavor and seem to sustain me longer than the lentel (this is great if you want to feel full!).  So, in honor of my love affair with the fava bean, and the clash of the tennis titans mentioned above, I’ve included a pureed fava bean recipe in my weekday recipe post below (click here for a cold fava bean soup):

I went to the market yesterday and had no idea what to cook for dinner.  As usual, I looked for what was fresh, well priced, and didn’t require a ton of time to prepare.  I settled on fresh wild flounder filet, fava beans, and baby eggplant grown in New Jersey.  
I prepared the flounder filets with a breadcrumb topping consisting of homemade bread crumbs (1 cup), chopped parsley, dried oregano, kosher salt, pepper, and the zest of one lemon.  For the flounder filets I simply rubbed olive oil on both sides and placed them on a cookie try with aluminum foil. Thereafter, I placed the breadcrumb mixture on top of the flounder filet and drizzled some additional olive oil on the mixture.  I broiled the fish for about 5 minutes (on the high setting).


For the fava bean spread, I used a mortar and pestle to crush 10-15 large beans with half the juice of a small lemon, salt, pepper, finely diced basil, and 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil.  I served the spread with baked whole wheat chips (these are easy to make).

I prepared the small eggplant by cutting it into small cubes and simply pan roasting with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  The key to pan roasting eggplant is to season well with salt and let each side of the eggplant cubes sit in a hot pan for 4-5 minutes before turning.  The salt will force the water out of the eggplant and allow for good caramelization to occur.  


I served the dinner with homemade white zinfandel from 2008.


  1. That looks awesome. For some reason, I am always afraid to buy the fava beans. Now I am going to try them!
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Glad you are going to try them. Only hard part is taking them out of their pods and thereafter boiling them for a few minutes to release the shell from the bean.

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