Spring soup with fava beans, fennel and leek

This soup says spring — delicate in flavor and appearance, with a lovely mix of the season’s latest offerings. With fresh fava beans, fennel and leek, their sweetness enhanced by fresh basil, this is a light soup for these days of intermittent rain and warmth.

Fresh fava beans, sold in their massive green pods like a pea’s overgrown cousin, are quite cheap right now — I got mine for 3 shekels a kilo. You’ll be throwing out quite a lot of pod, but a kilo will give you about 2 cups of beans. The largest, lumpiest pods contain the biggest beans.

I used garlic greens because I had them. Garlic greens are fibrous, so either grind them up finely or don’t chop them at all so you can pull them out. Or you could use garlic cloves — fresh garlic would be in keeping with the spirit.

For about 4 servings:

1 onion, chopped
oil for frying
1 fennel, cut into thin slices (3 cups)
1 smallish leek, cut into thin slices (3 cups)
1 kilo fava beans (2 cups peeled)
2 tablespoons well-ground garlic greens (scapes) or 4-6 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh basil leaves

Pour some oil into a pot and fry the onion. Add the fennel and leek, and fry until the vegetables soften. Add the fava beans and the rest of the ingredients, and top off with about 1 to 1.5 liters of water. Boil until the beans soften — this shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, since they’re fresh.

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