Favokeftedes (Yellow Split Pea Patties)
It’s difficult to choose one recipe among the many for yellow split peas throughout the Cyclades and Dodecanese. The small yellow legume is a local hero, the stuff of sustenance but also of imagination; despite its humble nature it has become the main ingredient in countless local specialties, married with herbs and spices such as cumin, wheat berries, cured pork and more. This particular dish marries the split pea with another local island trademark: wild fennel, which perfumes innumerable dishes from the Cyclades as well as the Dodecanese.
For the fava:
- 1 pound / 450 g yellow split peas
- 1 large onion
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 to 1 ½ cups extra virgin Greek olive oil
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- Salt to taste
For the Favokeftedes
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 cup cooked puréed yellow split peas (fava)
- ½ - 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup fennel or dill fronds finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 scant teaspoon cinnamon
Make the fava: Sauté the onion in ½ cup olive oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the yellow split peas and toss to coat in the oil. Add the bay leaves, salt and pepper and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Simmer, adding small quantities of water as needed, until the yellow split peas disintegrate and are like chunky mashed potatoes. The total quantity of water absorbed by the split peas can be anywhere between 8 to 12 cups.
Remove and puree using an immersion blender, adding salt, lemon juice and olive oil in alternating streams until the mixture is very smooth.
Make the favokeftedes: Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and cook the onion until golden. Remove from heat and transfer the onions to a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked fava, ½ cup flour, fennel, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Mix well until smooth and firm, and add more flour as needed.
Take a heaping tablespoon at a time of the mixture and shape into small patties about 4 cm (1 ½ inches) in diameter. Dust with additional flour if desired. Heat about 2 cm (a little less than an inch) of olive oil in a heavy skillet and add the patties a few at a time and pan-fry. Flip the patties and cook the other side. Remove when golden and crisp on the outside. Drain on paper towels. Continue until all of the split-pea mixture has been used.
Serve with Santorini Caper Topping (Kaparokoumba)