Foodbuzz 24 x 24 | An Ode to Orvieto
This recipe was a part of a special menu for Foodbuzz’s June 2011 food blogger party, 24×24. Showcasing posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers, the monthly Foodbuzz 24 highlights unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period. Read more about my meal along with all of the other recipes at An Ode to Orvieto.
Although I was first truly introduced to them in Italy, the lovely fava bean is wordly in all senses of the word. Burgeoning natively in Asia and North Africa, and found in gardens just about everywhere else, the fava (or broad bean) serves as a tender, meaty bean that can be transformed into all sorts of loveliness. I first tucked into them as a part of a simple appetizer in Orvieto, Italy. We had started going to this restaurant in town that we referred to lovingly as “The Italian Pottery Barn” – aside from the menu outside and the screamingly tasty smells coming from the kitchen, one would think that they were shopping for glassware and rustic furniture over a delicious bite. This dish, comprised of creamy fava beans slathered over crisp toast and topped with curls of pecorino romano, was the perfect opening to some of the most gorgeous farm-fresh meals I’ve eaten in Orvieto. I remember the first time I tried these babies, my friend told me that she would never try them because typically people with fava bean allergies tend to die the very first time they tried them. She explained that she didn’t want to take a chance, all the while I nodded my head as I tucked in to the most perfect fava bean puree dressed with fruity, local olive oil. Her loss – more for me.
This recipe is sometimes served rather chunkily, but I first had it as a smooth, almost hummus-like spread. Some folks make it with a heavy kick of garlic or basil, but the way I had it, the seasonings were mild, allowing the fava beans to shine. The best thing you can do is get the tastiest olive oil to drizzle, your favorite bread for toast points (I love a good ciabatta) and the most savory, nutty pecorino you can find. Then, with a minimal amount of cooking, you can relish in the the joy of the fabulous fava bean.
Crostini di Fave (Fava Bean Crostini)
1 loaf of ciabatta, sliced into 1 inch ovals
1 clove of garlic
1 lbs. of unshelled fava beans
juice of 1/2 lemon, freshly-squeezed
4 tbs. of white balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. of olive oil
2 cl. of garlic
3 sprigs of parsley, leaves removed and stems discarded (save stems for stock)
4 sprig of mint
1/4 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
Drizzle the bread slices with olive oil and toast until golden and crisp. Rub the warm slices with the clove of garlic and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the fava beans from their husks and drop into the water. Drain and cool under running water. Remove the beans from their outer white membrane – you’ll have two split bean halves that’ll come out of the husk. Drop the fava beans, lemon juice, balsamic, olive oil, garlic, parsley, mint, salt and pepper into a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Slather a few tablespoons of the fava bean puree on the toasts and shave pecorino romano over the top. Drizzle with a good olive oil and serve.