Fava Bean Puree could be considered Italian guacamole. It is a garlicky, herby green paste that is fantastic when spread on crusty bread slices known as crostini.
Finding fava beans is not always easy. Ample Bites finally found them at Caputo’s. Fava beans are an interesting vegetable that require quite a bit of preparation to use but they are well worth the effort. The beans are shelled from the long pods and then boiled for 2 minutes and ice bathed, to stop the cooking process, before they are then removed from their inner membrane. The two pounds of vegetable called for in this recipe will yield about 1 1/2 cups of beans.
Crostini with Fresh Fava Bean Puree
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, 2013)
Makes 12 to 16 appetizer portions
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lb,fresh fava beans, shelled, blanched and peeled
2 Tbsp minced fresh herbs (mint, basil and/or oregano)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter or heavy cream
2 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large baguette for crostini, cut on a bias in thin slices
Thinly sliced Pecorino Romano cheese for garnish
To prepare crostini: Heat oven to 400F. Arrange the bread slices on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and brush tops with olive oil. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the tops are beginning to turn golden. Allow to cool and store in a large zip-top bag for up to 3 days.
Warm the olive oil and minced garlic in a small skillet over very low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is soft and fragrant but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Set aside 2 tablespoons of peeled fava beans and add the remaining beans to the skillet. Raise the heat to medium and cook until the beans are tender enough to break apart with a wooden spoon but are still bright green, about 5 minutes. Dribble in butter or cream and, using a potato masher, gently mash the beans into a coarse paste. Add the lemon juice, herbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper, and mash again and then blend until smooth in a blender or food processor. Remove from the heat and fold in the reserved fava beans.
Scoop the puree into a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with the crostini and top each one with a shaving of cheese. Arrange on a platter, drizzle with very good oil and serve immediately.