As promised, I’m following up with my second experience of cooking with Fava Beans. This time I decided to make Fava Bean Bruschetta as an appetizer for Marisa and John who were joining Sam and me for dinner last Friday. My goals in this second Fava Bean cooking adventure were to (1) streamline the preparation process and (2) highlight the Fava Beans in the finished dish.
To cut down on the Fava Bean prep time, I shucked the beans from their pods the night before and put them in the fridge until the next step. It took about 10 minutes to shuck 2 pounds of Fava Beans. Not too bad.
The next morning, I boiled the Fava Beans in a pot of salted water for 10 minutes to cook them and make it easier to remove their peel. As soon as the beans were cool enough to touch, I peeled the beans from their 2nd layer, which took 15 minutes. In the end the 2 pounds of beans yielded a little less than 2 cups of beans. Time invested so far: 10 minutes shucking + 10 minutes boiling + 15 minutes peeling = 35 minutes. Okay…the boiling time wasn’t actually active prep time, we’ll just call it 25 minutes.
Next step: puree the beans. I reserved a couple tablespoons of beans on the side and pureed the rest in a food processor with olive oil until the Fava Beans had formed a smooth paste (don’t be afraid to be generous with the olive oil!). I put the pureed beans in a bowl, added the reserved beans and mashed them slightly to add a little texture to the Fava Bean Puree. I kept this in the refrigerator until we needed it that evening. This entire step probably took 10 more minutes, totaling 35 minutes prep time.
Right before John and Marisa arrived that evening, I cut thin slices of multigrain artisan bread and toasted them in the toaster. It would have been more authentic to grill the bread slices, but I was all for streamlining the process. Add 2 more minutes…37 minutes.
Next, I rubbed a raw clove of garlic over the surface of each piece of toast to impart a pungent garlic flavor. The bruschetta purists would drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the toasts at this point, but I figured there was enough in the Fava Bean puree and skipped this step. 30 seconds more = 37 min 30 sec.
I set up a do-it-yourself bruschetta station so each guest could construct their bruschetta as they liked. Toppings included the Fava Bean puree, sliced radishes, microgreens, finely grated parmesan, julienned mint leaves, roasted garlic, pepper and a variety of sea salts. My favorite combination was toast with Fava Bean puree, a few radish slices, microgreens, parmesan and pepper—exquisite! As long as I didn’t pile too many radishes on my bruschetta, the Fava Beans remained the star, just as I had hoped. As for my other goal of streamlining the preparation process, the total bruschetta prep process clocked in at about 45 minutes, including the time slicing and prepping the other toppings. The Fava Bean Bruschetta tasted delicious and was fun to make and eat as a group, so I certainly don’t regret the time it took to prepare the Fava Beans. Will you see Fava Beans on my blog again? Yes, probably in the coming years. Fava Beans do require a lot of effort to prepare and I’ve had my fill for this spring, but I’m sure they’ll find their way into my grocery bag, just as they did this year.