Crushed fava beans, garlic and lemon crostini

International blogger woes: Should I use the American names for ingredients or the British names? There’s a lot to consider (believe it or not), including what people will search for, and if I lose out on people because you might not know what I’m talking about.

And, on a totally unrelated note … fava beans, known in the UK as broad beans, are finally back in season. Whatever you call them, they are delicious and full of goodness.

Fava beans/broad beans are high in fiber and iron, and low in sodium and fat. They’re also loaded with protein – so much so that in Sicily, they were called poor man’s meat.

I actually used to hate them, until I realized that you could (and should, really) remove the outer thick shell. The difference in taste is dramatic.

fava bean / broad bean crostini

The shells are edible, but they give broad beans a bitter taste and hide the natural sweetness of the inner bean.

Getting these little suckers out of those shells is the most time-consuming part of the whole process, and it’s the only thing that keeps this from being a 10 minute start-to-finish recipe. I’d suggest putting on a podcast and/or getting someone to pitch in.

fava bean / broad bean crostini

In this incarnation, I’ve paired broad beans / fava beans with similar ingredients to a pesto, and served it on toasted homemade bread. Definitely don’t bother using sliced supermarket bread, get out there and get a nice crusty loaf from the bakery.

Have it as a snack or a starter. It keeps well in the fridge, and I like having it when I get home from work, especially if dinner is a long way away.

fava bean / broad bean crostini

Serves: 4
Time: 20 minutes from start to finish

On the Counter

500 g fresh broad beans (fava beans) in their pods
1 small clove garlic, pressed or minced
Juice from 1/4 lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
Small handful of parsley, chopped
4 slices crusty bread

What to Do

Take the beans out of their pods.

In a pot of boiling water, cook them for 2 minutes. They shouldn’t need any more time. Drain and rinse them with cold water to cool them down and stop the cooking process.

Remove the bright green bean halves from their shells. (It doesn’t matter if they break along the way.) Discard the shells, and add the beans, salt, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and olive oil into a wide-bottomed bowl or a food processor bowl and stir.

Crush everything lightly with a potato masher or use a food processor, though I prefer using a potato masher. Don’t mash it into a pulp, as some texture makes it look (and taste) better.

Meanwhile, if you’re serving it immediately, toast a few slices of crusty bread. You can drizzle it with more olive oil if you’re feeling decadent, but it’s good without, too.

You can also store it in the fridge for several days. After a few hours in the fridge, the lemon and garlic will be more pronounced.

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