The favas are back! The favas are back!
I may have done a little dance of joy when I accidentally stumbled upon a basket of fava beans a couple of weeks ago as I combed the greengrocers of Kensington Market for pizza fixin's.
Particularly because it wasn't just any basket of fava beans, either, but one that hadn't yet been picked over by the usual bevy of little old ladies of indeterminate European origin who normally congregate around the fava beans like seagulls around a french fry truck.
I nervously glanced around for signs of knee-high support hose or orthopedic shoes anywhere in the vicinity. Upon confirming the coast was clear, I swiftly filled a bag with the precious emerald-green pods before the grannies could descend upon the undefended basket.
Much to my surprise, not a single little old lady came by to muscle me out of my prime picking spot... perhaps the early start to this year's season must have caught them off-guard?
I'm not one to look a gift horse (or fava) in the mouth, though.
Back at home, I carefully extracted the beans from their velvety cocoons, ending up with just a little more than a cup and a half of plump beans.
Favas really are best in simple recipes which let their flavour shine through.
For this particular batch, that meant a quick blanching to remove the tough outer skin followed by a quick toss in hot oil with red onion, chopped mint, salt and pepper. From there, it's as simple as spooning onto thick slices of toasted bread smeared with ricotta for a quickie spring appetizer.
The payoff? A two-bite canape that's like a breath of fresh spring air, minus all the allergy-inducing pollen.
The soft creaminess of the ricotta blunts the favas' slight bitterness without overpowering it, while the mint and lemon keep everything bright and fresh and lively.
Victory never tasted so good. Better luck next time, little old ladies.
Fava and Ricotta Crostini
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
- Diet: Vegetarian
These simple two-bite appetizers are a great way to kick off a spring dinner party, or turn them into meal-sized open faced sandwiches by substituting thick slices of crusty Italian bread for the baguette.
- 2 cloves garlic, cut in half
- 8 slices of crusty baguette, cut ¾" thick on the diagonal
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Fava and Ricotta Topping
- 1 ½ cup shelled fava beans (~1.5 lbs in the pod)
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh mint
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup full-fat ricotta cheese
- Rub slices of baguette with garlic cloves and brush lightly with olive oil on both sides. Lightly toast under a hot broiler (or on a hot grill, if you're thusly inclined). Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling unsalted water, cook shelled fava beans until tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and let cool, then carefully peel off the tough outer skin from each bean.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium saute pan set over medium-high heat. Saute onions for 5-7 minutes, or until soft and just starting to colour. Stir in favas and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until warmed through.
- Transfer the cooked favas to a medium bowl. Toss the warm favas with remaining tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and mint until combined, then mash slightly with the back of a fork to create a chunky spread of sorts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the prepared toasts on a serving platter. Spread each slice with 2-3 tbsp ricotta, then spoon favas on top, dividing evenly among the crostini. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, and serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Category: Appetizers
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Canadian
This recipe looks so delicious and fresh! I am actually hosting a fava bean linky party at https://www.2sisters2cities.com/2012/05/fresh-produce-tuesday-week-7-fava-beans as part of our Fresh Produce Tuesday series. I would love if you submitted this recipe!
Your story behind the fava beans gives me comfort that I'm not alone in my fight against the old ladies for prime picking when I go to the market.
This recipe looks delish. I just picked up some fava beans on Sunday and I was wondering what I'd do with them...
David @ Frenchie and the Yankee says
Oh this looks absolutely delicious.
Perfect for summer.
Seeing this post reminded me of how much I love fava beans! Thanks for rekindling the romance. That's one mean looking crostini - I like it!
Beth Michelle says
I love fava beans and your account of picking them made me laugh. It's like that here in Israel at the shuks. Not just with favas but anything!! Those little old ladies can be ruthless! These crostinis look amazing. Perfect use for these little green gems!
Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings says
A good looking crostini!!! I am quite biased, though. I like to call them tartines - LOL!
Looks scrumptious! Funny story to go with it :)
Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef says
This looks fantastic and would make a great lunch - right now!
Kim Bee says
Now that's a meal worth pushing some old ladies out of the way for. Lovely recipe and photos. I may have drooled a bit on my keyboard.
They sure look good!
I love fava beans and what a genius use for them Isabelle!
I haven't seen any fava beans yet... and I've been looking! Hopefully soon... hopefully I can try this crostini!
That looks delicious!!!
Kiri W. says
Oh wow, this looks delicious. I've never had fava beans on bread or with ricotta, but I'd love to!
Jen at The Three Little Piglets says
That would make the perfect lunch right about now!