Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fava Beans

I have been astounded at the myriad of ways I have seen fava beans cooked in the last few weeks. In little Tokyo at the Lazy Ox Canteen I had them shelled sauteed with their outer shells on leaving a crispy caramelized outer layer to the beans. This last week in San Fransisco I saw them unshelled and deep fried which was utterly confusing to me because fava shells are so thick and fuzzy on the inside. Personally, I like my favas raw because that's how I grew up eating them. I really don't like double shelling them, so I try to find the most tender and most young favas around. If you don't mind a little bitterness to the bean, don't mind shelling them otherwise make sure that you blanch them first because it is WAY easier. Enjoy!

Smashed Pea and Fava Bean Bruschetta -Adapted from The Sated Plate Blog

1 pound English peas in the pods
1-1/2 pounds fava beans in the pods
1 small bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil
3-4 ounces fresh pecorino, such as Toscano Stagianato
juice of 1 medium lemon
2 cloves green garlic chopped or minced (depending on how large of a piece you want to be eating)


Shell peas and fava beans into separate bowls. In a small saucepan with a steamer basket, blanch fava beans for about three minutes. Rinse in cold water. Pinch one end to remove the bright green bean from its pale outer shell. Set aside. Finely grate pecorino cheese. Set cheese aside.

Using a good size mortar and pestle or a shallow baking dish and a potato masher, bash the peas with half the mint leaves and a pinch of sea salt. Add the fava beans a few at a time and crush. I wouldn't necessarily mash them like you would mashed potatoes, I would mash them until they are kind of crumbly and hold together.

Add a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for a lovely consistency and to really bring it all together. Mix in grated pecorino, the green garlic, and the lemon juice. At this point, taste the mixture. You want to balance the richness of the pecorino and olive oil with the freshness of the peas, beans and mint. Season with more salt and pepper, as needed.

This mixture would works best as a bruschetta- toast bread and add a dollop of the mixture to the bread. Top with the rest of the olive oil and mint leaves.

It would also work well tossed with pasta, pesto-style (add more cheese, olive oil, and lemon), or try adding a dollop atop grilled or broiled white fish.

Best served immediately. Do not make more than an hour in advance.

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