Monday, June 11, 2012

Fava Bean Toasts

Summer is creeping up on us and fava beans are still in the markets…perhaps not much longer though. This recipe shows them off at their best. Making a paste out of them may take away from their natural beauty, but they taste so good mixed with garlic, olive oil and fresh basil that you can’t imagine them tasting any better. But then, garlic, olive oil and basil could make breakfast cereal taste better, right? 
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Favas might have a bit of a reputation for being too much work because you have to take them out of their pods and then remove them from a second protective covering. Thus exposed, they are ready to be turned into to a delectable treat!
1 ½ C. shelled and ready to cook fava beans (Google “how to prepare fresh fava beans” if you’ve never done them before.)
6 cloves spring garlic. Spring garlic is in season at the same time. You may however use regular garlic, according to your own tastes.
4+ T. Extra virgin olive oil (or EVOO, as I’m seeing on restaurant menus these days)
2-3 sprigs of fresh basil
¼ C. water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ - 1 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 baguette, sweet or sour, both are fine
Parmigiano Reggiano shaving

Add 2 T. EVOO to pan on medium heat. Add garlic and sautĂ© until it becomes translucent (about 1 min.) Add fava beans, water, salt and basil sprigs. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the fava beans break down when stirred. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. 

Add contents of pan to a food processer and pulse-blend briefly until a paste forms. I like it just a little coarse, but it is a matter of preference. If you want to be assured of having a coarse texture, chop the mixture by hand. You may need to add a couple of tablespoons water if the mixture is too thick to be processed in the machine. Turn out into a mixing bowl. 

Time to fine-tune the seasoning. Stir in at least 2 tablespoons of your most expensive EVOO (I used McEvoy…oooh la la!) and ½ to 1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Check for salt. Chill paste for at least an hour. 

Place about a teaspoon of paste onto thinly sliced baguette croutons. I like to brush the croutons with olive oil before toasting. Some baguettes may need a light sprinkling of salt, if they seem bland. Garnish each crouton with a nice shaving of Reggiano, as is shown above. Makes at least 25 croutons. Enjoy on the patio with your favorite libation! 

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