Venice- her narrow canals and Medieval facades- transports back in time. I am so grateful to be here, and my heart is full. So is my stomach. Since the forecast was rain and it was a bit overcast, this was the perfect day to pick up some fresh produce from the Rialto Market and prepare a meal at home in our sweet little Airbnb. The Rialto Mercato di Frutta e Vedura is in the oldest part of the city, adjacent to the Rialto Bridge under an ancient portico. The best time to arrive, no matter what the previous night’s activities, is at 7:00 a.m., when the market opens. Everything is at its freshest and most of the customers are local Venetians, doing their daily shopping.
A feast for the eyes, the market is a splash of bright red tomatoes, deep green zucchini, orange mushrooms, bunches of radishes and onions, row upon row of lettuces, and brillant red bundles of chili peppers.
As reqired by law, each item must be labeled with its place of origin, so you know exactly where your food is coming from. All of the food is brought in by boat; it is entertaining to watch the early morning hustle and bustle and listen to the rapid Italian banter among the workers.
As I was perusing the aisles, something interesting caught my eye. Pink and white fava beans. I am used to the green variety I get in California and look forward to the fall when they are in season. They are high in B vitamins and have a creamy consistency when cooked. According to some sources, this ancient bean was domesticated in about 3000 BC. They originated in the Mediterranean region, so I wanted to learn how to prepare them Venician style.
For any recipe, preparing fava beans is a two-step process; they must be hulled and skinned. First snap off one end and peel back the string. Open the pod to find 4-6 beans inside.
Next, blanch the beans by placing them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Then plunge them into a bowl of ice water. After one minute, pour off the ice water. This will help loosen the skins for easy removal.
Make a small slit in the skin and pop out the bean. Once the beans are hulled and the skins are removed, they are ready to go.
These beans are so versitle with no end to possible variations. For Venician style, boil the fava beans in water for 15 minutes or until soft. Add to pasta and tomato sauce or garlic and olive oil. Buon appetito!
Stay tuned for more from Italy. Ciao bella.