Category: Antipasto, Meze, Tapas, and Hors d'Oeuvres
In Morocco, this purée is served as a meze and called rafissa al-fūl or rafissa “de fèves fraîches” and can be served as a dip for warm or deep-fried pieces of flatbread. A rafis is an interesting dish with a history. We have a record of a Tunisian sheik of Qairouan (then the capital city of today’s Tunisia) in the fourteenth century who once a year shared a rafis, a dish made of wheat flour, dates, honey, butter, and other ingredients, in a celebration with the students of his zawiyya, a hospice and theological school. A recipe preserved from the fifteenth century tells us how to make rafis: “take pieces of bread smaller than an olive and mix with dates and honey until it looks like it will break apart. Work the mixture for a long time with the hands not over a fire until you get a rafis.” But this rafissa is nothing of the kind; it is a purée. [Photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 6 servings
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
3 pounds fresh fava beans in their pods, shelled
2 garlic cloves, mashed in a mortar with 1 teaspoon salt until mushy
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat then cook the fava beans for 10 minutes. Drain, then pinch off the peel and place the beans in a food processor with the garlic paste. With the machine running, pour the olive oil in through the feed tube. Stop for a moment and add the paprika and cumin. Continue running the processor until the beans are smooth.
2. Spread the purée on a flat, round platter and serve with portions of pita bread. You can garnish the platter with black olives and small pieces of chopped tomatoes.
Note: Serve with black olives, fried flatbread chips, chopped tomatoes, and radishes.