Fava Bean Bruschetta

by The Gilded Fork

Bruschetta is the quintessential starter to any gathering, but with a little creativity it can be elegantly transformed from finger food to a first course.  The best platform for bruschetta is a freshly baked, herbed bread.  A rosemary or other herb-infused ciabatta is always our first choice.

Serves 4

Ingredients

For fava beans:
1 cup cooked, peeled fava beans
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For bruschetta:
1 cup grape cherry, cherry or ripe (hothouse) roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 loaf fresh baked, herbed ciabatta
Unsalted butter
Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Aged Pecorino Romano, for garnish

Preparation

Prepare the fava beans:
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the fava beans and garlic and season with sea salt, toss to coat.  Gently cook the beans until they soften about 12 to 15 minutes, adding additional olive oil (or water) to the pan as necessary to prevent the pan from drying.  Remove from heat.  Add the rosemary and thyme and toss.  Tranfer to a large work bowl, and with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, gently mash the beans into a coarse purée.  Taste and adjust flavors using generous amounts of olive oil, then salt and pepper.  Add just a few drops of the lemon juice to taste.  Set aside.

Prepare the bruschetta:
In a small bowl combine the chopped tomatoes, the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Slice the ciabatta into ½ inch slices and lightly toast under a broiler.  Spread each slice with a thin coat of butter and arrange on a serving platter or individual plates.  Place about a tablespoon of the fava bean purée on top of each slice of the ciabatta and gently spread over each slice.  Spoon the tomato mixture over the slices.  Season if necessary with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Service

Spoon any remaining juices from the tomatoes around the serving platter.  Using a hand grater with large holes, coarsely grate the aged pecorino over the bruschetta.  Garnish with a small fresh sprig of rosemary.

Recipe by Donna Marie Zotter

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