Fava beans and Peas Crostini
I have written about fava beans here so I will not repeat the information except to say that Fava beans are a special summer treat that requires a little work. Not only you have to remove the beans out of their comfortable, cushiony pod, but you also need to pop each individual bean out of its protective waxy shell. But , you have done more difficult things and I assure you your effort will be rewarded with a lovely taste and visual feast and isn’t that what cooking is all about?
An easy way to undress the pods is to unzip them by pulling the string down from the flower end and then helping it open up to reveal the light green beans resting cosily on the whitish velvety lining inside each pod. Once removed from the pods you will need to drop the beans into boiling water for about a minute and then squeeze each bean between your fingers to release the bright green inner bean out of its protective shell.
This recipe yield a slightly chunky puree that you can spoon onto grilled bread and serve as an appetizer or as a little lunch or snack. It’s quite delicious in its simplicity. You can use all fava beans or as I suggest below mix in some freshly shelled green peas. Their flavours and textures are complimentary and the peas can extend the volume if you don’t want to shell too many fava beans.
I puree the beans and peas together in a food processor but leave it somewhat chunky. Feel free to process it until is it smooth or the texture that pleases you. If you make the purée early in the day don’t add the lemon juice until the last minute as the acid may discolour the bright green of the lava. Either add it just before serving or omit it altogether. A little acidity is nice, however. If you wish you could add a few mint leaves to the pureeing beans.
The recipe yields about 2 cups purée.
11/2 cups or so cooked fava beans from about 2 lb beans in the pod
1 cup cooked fresh peas
4-5 mint leaves – optional
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
A few twists of the mill of freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoon grated pecorino romano
1 teaspoon lemon juice or more to taste
Remove fava beans from the shell.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the beans into the boiling water and let cook for about 1 minute. Remove from the pot and let cool until comfortable to handle. The waxy shell around the beans will loosen up.
Pop each bean out of the waxy shell and collect all the green inner beans in a bowl.
Cook the peas in boiling water for a few minutes until just cooked but still retain their bright green colour.
Combine green fava beans, peas and mint leaves in a food processor, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper and process until the texture is smooth with some chunks left here and there.
Remove from the food processor and taste to correct the seasoning.
Add the grated pecorino.
if you serve immediately add the lemon juice now. If you serve later, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Add the lemon juice, a little at a time, just before serving
Grilled baguette slices (brush baguette slices with olive oil and grill in a panini maker or ridged pan)
Shaved pecorino for garnish
Sliced radishes for garnish
Chopped green onion
Additional olive oil for drizzling
Spoon a mound of fava bean puree over each crostini, top with any or all of the garnished.
Drizzle a little extra olive oil if you wish and serve immediately.
Note: if you don’t have pecorino you can spread a little goat cheese on the crostini befor piling on the fava puree.