Fava Beans (Labor of Love)

Fresh Fava were at many of the farmer market stands this past week. A treasure like these needs to be purchased, adored, and treated with respect. I walked home with a huge bag full and looked forward to spending an evening shelling, parboiling, peeling, and cooking them. If you ask me I see nothing wrong with having several steps to get to something this fantastic to eat. The other night as I drove home from a long, hot, and humid day in the kitchen of making deserts I was thinking that I wanted nothing more than a nice salad for dinner. As I was grabbing the ingredients out of the refrigerator I came across my bag of fava bean and I knew I couldn’t stop at just my salad. So I stood there and shelled the beans, placed them in a pot of water and brought them to a simmer. I drained them and ran them under cool water so I could handle them. One by one I squeezed them out of their outer skins (they are too tough to eat with them) and got them ready to cook. Something as delicious as a fava bean needs no pomp and circumstance. Simple and strait forward to show their beautiful texture, lovely taste, and the labor of your hard work.

I sautéed them with a bit of garlic, crushed red pepper in olive oil. Topped them with some freshly cut basil and placed it all on top of a ricotta smeared crostini. It was heaven. My simple salad for dinner was now and elegant meal. My hard labor of the day was rewarded with my labor of love in the kitchen at home. Try this and share it with someone you love. It will make it taste even better!

Fava Bean Crostini (makes at least 12 crostini)

1 baguette of French bread, cut into ½ inch slices

Roughly 2 cups of Fava Beans (from about 3 dozen pods)

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

¼ tsp of crushed red pepper

¼ cup of olive oil

Sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste

½ cup of fresh ricotta

Fresh basil (about 5 leaves) chopped

First, place your shelled bean in a large pot with enough water to cover by at least an inch. Bring it to a simmer and about 2 – 3 minutes and drain. Place colander under some running cold water to cool the beans down enough to handle. When cool, gently squeeze the beans one by one to remove them from their outer skin. They should pop out easily and will be slippery – just to warn you. When done place your peeled beans in a pile so they are ready to cook.

Next, brush your sliced baguette with olive oil on each side. Place them on a sheet pan and under the broiler on low. You are looking to get them lightly golden and toasty. Remove from the oven and season with a bit of sea salt and black pepper. Set them aside and let them cool.

Then, in a sauté pan over medium heat place about 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Once heated though add in your crushed red pepper and garlic. When they are fragrant toss in your fava beans and stir and let it all simmer together. Season it well with some sea salt and black pepper and remove from the heat.

Finally, smear a bit of fresh ricotta on each crostini. When all are coated place the sautéed fava beans over it and top it all with your fresh basil.

Note: the Fava Beans, the ricotta, and the bread are all items that absorb salt. Do not be surprised that after tasting you might need to sprinkle a bit more for the flavor profile to be more present.