Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mediterranean Bruschetta with Fava Bean Puree

If you are lucky enough to have a market that carries fresh fava beans in season, then be sure to pick some up when you see them. They are typically found fresh in June in the northeast, but are now available in cans and jars. There are even cooked favas in water in a vacuum seal pack at Whole Foods in the produce section so, while fresh is best, your fava season can be extended if you love them as much as I do. Fava beans have an earthy, green flavor that hold their own as an hors d'eouvre or are often seen sauteed and as an accompaniment to fish or chicken. They are fresh, bright green, and addictive.

Drain and rinse.
I bought a huge batch this spring and shelled, peeled (the tender, beany outer skins), blanched, and froze a bunch to extend my fava season. Unlike canned, jarred, or dried, they kept their perky green color and taste so fresh I thought they should be showcased on a baguette. Served with zucchini pancakes and roasted tomato sauce, this is a fantastic late-summer vegetarian/flexitarian meal or it's perfect as an appetizer.

Mediterranean Bruschetta with Fava Bean Puree

3-5 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
Cool roasted garlic before peeling.
extra-virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup total)
1 1/2 cups cooked fava beans

juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4-1/2 t high quality sea salt
a quick grind of freshly ground pepper
extra-virgin olive oil to taste (1-4 T)

1 grainy baguette
about 8 oil-cured black olives (Moroccan, French, or other), pitted and halved
drizzle remaining oil

Squeeze the soft bean from the outer shell
Heat oven to 350 F. Wrap unpeeled garlic cloves loosely in a piece of foil rubbed with a dash of olive oil.  Roast for about 30 minutes, until garlic is soft and fragrant.

In the meantime, peel outer skin from fava beans and discard peel. Place peeled beans in a food processor with lemon, salt, and pepper. When garlic is finished roasting and has cooled just enough to handle, squeeze garlic into the mix. Pulse and puree until mixture is uniform, scraping down the sides as you go. I like making it smooth, but have enjoyed similar spreads that were left chunkier, it's totally up to you and your tastes. Turn oven up to 400 F.

Taste and adjust salt and lemon. Slice baguette into 1/3" to 1/2" slices. Brush with a tiny bit of olive oil, if desired. Spread fava bean puree evenly over each slice and line them up on a baking sheet. Top each with an olive half. Toast in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until hot and just beginning to brown.

Serve immediately drizzled with remaining olive oil for garnish.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Great recipe! Goya sells fava beans frozen and I have used them in a risotto- not as good as fresh but not bad!