Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fava Bean Bruschetta....and Easter dinner

Easter dinner was a beautiful boned-out leg of lamb. I butterflied the leg and slathered the inside with a paste made from fresh rosemary, capers, anchovies, mustard, piles of garlic, salt and pepper. As always, I let it sit in the fridge uncovered for a while to get nice dry, then on to a nice roast. All was well and good, but I wanted really wanted to celebrate the Spring season with something green and tender. Peas are bit cliche (albeit yum), so on my wanderings in the St. Lawerence market on my quest for Good Friday fish, I found fresh fava beans. Eureka! I've read of a Tuscan dish that employed pureed fava beans on a toast as a sort of bruschetta - a perfect starter for Easter dinner. Here's what I did:

Fava beans have two layers of defense so in order to get to the tender green bean inside, you need to breech this defense - first peel the tough husks and release the beans from within (when very young, these husks can be eaten). Then blanche the beans in some boiling water that has been infused with onion, bay leaf and fresh thyme. Do not blanche for more than ten minutes. Then shock the beans in some cold water. This will make the removal of the grey secondary skin easier. This is a lot of fiddly work, but well worth it. Once you've peeled all the fava beans, puree them along with a bit of crushed garlic, plenty of olive oil, a handful of grated peccorino and finely chopped mint. Serve on crispy grilled bread along with a good pinch of rock salt, another drizzle of olive oil and a bit more peccorino. An amazing starter to a great meal.

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