If you’ve ever been on a cruise then 1) lucky you. I know cruises are the vacations most frequented by the AARP-crowd, and some *may* critique them as trips for those too lazy to book and make their own fun-filled vacation. Hm. But the truth is that the cruises like my family occasionally partakes in are phenomenal, food-filled trips through different parts of the world that can accommodate many different branches of extended family, cater to all physical abilities, and ensure that cousins have many and more corners of the ship to run around in.
Plus, boats are cool. So is having circular windows.
To be honest, we’ve only ever been on a few of cruises, and none were the multi-thousand behemoths that I frequently see leaving PortMiami. They were respectable cruises, small cruises, tasteful cruises that also had a lecture and educational component. (Coming from a family where math tests were sometimes administered on play dates, vacations with an attached lecturer is not strange.)
One of the great parts about cruises though, are the tours through different cuisines afforded by the frequent jumping from one port to another. On our first, we made our way through Italy and Greece, which meant everything from pastas on the piazza to baklava at breakfast and dessert. And snack time.
There was one dish however, that really stuck out. Fava. While its favorable review may have been affected by the location (cliff-side in Santori, blue seas, whites houses. Donkeys.) the multiple times its showed up on the dinner or lunch table stateside more than reaffirms its tastiness. Even though it was seemingly plain, it’s still a standout. Fava, which is essentially a loose hummus served warm, is made with yellow split peas. (Not those green fresh fava beans, which would also make a similarly delish dish.)
Making it is easy. Boil, simmer, blend. Maybe drizzle. Something magic happens when you process warm mushy peas with a stream of olive oil. (It may be emulsification which lends that creaminess, but I’ll stick with food processor magic, thank you.)
It’s a dish that is forever tied to the place where I first ate it, and sure, it helps that it was a trip through Greece. But there’s nothing wrong with bringing a little Greece along to your kitchen, wherever that may be.
Recipe provided by Mom
1 cup yellow split peas
4 garlic cloves, whole and peeled
Yellow onion, halved and peeled
Pinch baking soda
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Thinly sliced red onion
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Wash split peas until water runs off clear. Remove any sticks and stones *they’ll break your bones and give you a tummy ache.
2. Add split peas to a pot with garlic cloves, the onion, and the baking soda. Cover with enough water so there are two inches of headspace. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until split peas are soft, about 20 minutes.
3. Reserve cooking liquid and add the split peas, onion, and garlic to a food processor. Add juice from half a lemon. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and blend until smooth, slowly adding about 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup of olive as the food processor is…processing. Taste and add more salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed.
4. Pour into a shallow bowl and garnish with thinly slice red onion, capers, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve warm with crusty toast, bread, pita, veggies, falafel…