Ups and Downs

This has been a bit of an off week. While Mike and I have quietly celebrated a few exciting developments in our lives, our happiness has been muted by some devastating news from good friends of ours. As I said to someone earlier this week, as fun as it can be to have friends and loved ones located all over the map, it’s hard to be so far away when something bad happens and you can’t rush over to provide the help, comfort and support you so desperately want to.

My heart has been heavy, my appetite dull, and I haven’t felt particularly inspired, but somehow last night I turned out something that I felt really proud of, a simple dish of favas and fregula that hit all the right notes and left me feeling, just for a while, a little lighter.

stewing

I cooked my shelled and peeled favas in olive oil with salt and a crumbled chile de arbol until they were bright green and tender, and set them aside while I worked on the fregula. I added a pinch of saffron to a pot of boiling chicken broth I had pulled from the freezer, salted it and added a squirt of tomato paste for color and richness, then added the fregula to cook. While it boiled and swelled, I tossed the favas with some chopped pickled scallions and some of my marinated grilled red peppers, giving the mixture a good slick of olive oil.

Dinner:  July 22, 2009

When the fregula had absorbed all of its cooking liquid I tossed it with the fava bean mixture, tossing in some chopped fresh parsley and adding a splash of sherry vinegar for brightness. I served it with crispy grilled smelts tossed with olive oil and smoked paprika, and while the combination was a good one, the fregula really stole the show. I suspect it would be great as a stand-alone dish.

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7 thoughts on “Ups and Downs

  1. So sorry you are going through a tough time. I know how it is to be far away from loved ones.

    Beautiful dish. I made something somewhat similar last night–fava beans with spring onions, chard and garlic over farro. I added a poached egg and some fresh basil on top. I could not get over how attractive it was (and tasty). Favas make everything better…

  2. SOrry you are having such a tough week, though you must be a good friend to feel so strongly, and that is probably a great comfort to them no matter how far away you are.

    This looks like a heavenly dish.

  3. I’m sorry about your friend’s bad news, Jen.

    I’m here looking for your leaping frog chicken, which is wot’s for dinner in rainy New York this evening. Never see smelts here.

  4. Sorry to read that your heart is aching. May you continue to find comfort and a bit of mindful escape through good eats. Sending along well wishes to you and yours.

  5. Martha says:

    I love your blog, and have lurked a long time; your comment here spoke to me. No matter what the trouble may be, I pray (truly) you all and your friend will feel relief from this pain.

  6. lo says:

    Sending warm thoughts your way to get you through! Hope it’s comforting to know that this too shall pass… and better days are ahead.

    Gorgeous fava dish! I’ve not tried fregula — but this is definitely making me curious.

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