We're smack in the middle of fava bean season here in Northern California. My local market and farmer's markets are bursting with them and we've been scooping them up since they won't be around for long.
Never cooked favas before? Favas do require a little work but the reward is so worth it. You have to shell the beans and then remove the skin that covers each individual bean. Look for pods with small-to-medium-sized beans. They are sweeter, and when the beans are small you don't necessarily need to remove the skin that covers the bean. The larger the beans are, the tougher the skin on the bean. If you do end up with larger beans, no worries. Just plop the shelled but unskinned beans into boiling salted water for a minute or two, then drain them and shock them in an ice bath. The skins will soften and shrivel and you can pop them right off.
I bought 3-4 pounds of fava beans in their pods to yield about a cup of pureed favas for my crostini. They go so well with garlic and your best, fruitiest olive oil, and if you have a food processor (love my Cuisinart) you can make these crostini in just minutes.
FAVA BEAN CROSTINI WITH SHAVED PECORINO ROMANO
You can you any assertive, flavorful hard cheese like parmesan, caciota di boschi, aged goat gouda etc.
- 3-4 lbs of fava beans, shelled and boiled as described above, then skinned
- 1 clove of garlic
- extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- pecorino romano (shaved with a potato peeler)
- thinly sliced toasted bread
Put favas in bowl of food processor with garlic. Turn on motor and through food tube, slowly drizzle olive into bowl in a thin stream until favas as creamy and almost smooth, about the consistency of hummus. Taste for salt and remove the puree to a bowl.
Put about a teaspoon of fava bean puree atop a slice of toasted bread and shave pecorino romano over it. Grind pepper over and serve. Makes about 20 crostini. Refrigerate any leftover puree (and sneak spoonfuls for a yummy midnight snack!
Note: I take photos on the fly with my iPhone and edit them with Camera Bag iPhone app because I am a busy and can't be bothered anymore to futz with my DSLR. I prefer to take photos just as food is about to be shovelled into hungry, waiting mouths. I've come to think it's more authentic that way.