Spring is here, and summer is on its way. I hear chicks cheeping outside, and hemlines are moving north. It's also my last day of law school today, and perhaps my last day of formal education, ever.
All this puts me in a celebratory mood. I grabbed the fava beans and green garlic that I bought at the farmers market last weekend and made a quick crostini. This is a good recipe for when you want less time at the stove, and more time lingering outdoors over a glass of wine as the sun slowly sets.
Depending on its size, a pod may hold about 2-4+ fava beans. Don't worry if the pods feel squishy. Those pods just have extra fuzzy padding inside. I paid $4.00 for 28 pods, or about 1.5 pounds of fava beans. This yielded under 2 cups of actual beans.
Fava Bean Crostini with Green Garlic and Pecorino
To minimize stove time, substitute regular garlic for green garlic, or keep the green garlic raw. Many cheese will do here, and not only the hard type. I picked up this Gran Cru Pecorino in the $4 bin at Whole Foods. I recommend breaking the cheese into small chunks, instead of grating it as shown in the photo above. The cheese and salt will be more pronounced and better complement the otherwise mild fava beans. And if you want to take this to another level, spreading a layer of dijon mustard onto the toasted baguette before adding the fava bean mixture.
1-2 green garlic, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
A pat of unsalted butter
Optional: Dry white wine
1 1/2 lbs. fava beans (approx. 25-30 medium to large pods)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 lemon, zest and juice
Freshly cracked black pepper
Pecorino (or Parmigiano-Reggiano or Manchego)
Optional: Dijon mustard
Cook the Fava Beans
- Shell the fava beans. You can try breaking off the top end (that connects the pod to the plant) and pull the threat to "unzip" the pod and reveal the beans. Or you can snap the pod at the point between two of the beans (feel with your fingers) and squeeze out the bean, then repeat (snap, squeeze, snap, squeeze). If all else fails, just mangle your way through.
- Remove the waxy coating. The beans are covered in a waxy coating. Remove the coating in one of two ways: (1) Remove the coating after you shell the beans, or (2) Blanch the beans in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes, drain the beans, run cold water over the beans to stop the cooking, then remove the coating once the beans have cooled.
Brown the Green Garlic
- Add a pat of butter to a medium sized pan over medium high heat. Add the sliced green garlic and toss. Reduce the heat and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the green garlic has lightly caramelized. Add white wine or water occasionally to release the brown bits that stick to the pan.
Note: You can skip this step and add the raw green garlic directly to the food processor. You can also substitute a few cloves of garlic for the green garlic.
Prepare the Spread
- Pulse the fava beans in a food processor just to break them up.
- Add to the food processor: Green garlic (start with 1/2 of the amount, then increase if desired), olive oil, a pinch of salt, freshly ground black pepper, and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Puree until smooth.
- Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice a baguette into thick ovals and spread them on a baking sheet. Bake until toasted and light golden, about 8-10 minutes.
- Rub each slice with cut garlic. If you like mustard, spread a layer of dijon mustard over the toasted baguette before adding the fava bean mixture. Grate or crumble cheese on top. Serve with white wine, maybe a Chardonnay, not-too-sweet Riesling, or Gewürztraminer.