Crostini with Fava Bean Puree, Ricotta and Cherry Tomatoes
When I hit up Pike Place Market the other day, I noticed that there are still fava beans around. It is really late in the season- but this is an incredible testament to how terrible our weather has been up here. Anyways, I love Fava beans, and I grabbed a pound and thought I would just figure something out for an appetizer (we had a guest for dinner that night).
I also happened to pick up the most gorgeous, sweet, adorable, tiny orange tomatoes.
Not knowing I would put the two together, I wandered into DeLaurenti’s (Italian deli) because I couldn’t help myself! I was just browsing, waiting for inspiration to hit, when I saw the fresh ricotta. And then I saw the really good stuff. Italian sheep’s milk fresh ricotta. I had a sample, and yes, you can taste the difference! So, I knew I had to incorporate that. I picked up a loaf of good chewy bread, and here is the result. I will definitely be making it again!
Crostini with Fava Bean Puree, Ricotta and Cherry Tomatoes, makes 8 crostini
1 loaf rustic French bread
2 garlic cloves
1lb fava beans in shells
1 small lemon
1/4lb fresh ricotta cheese
½ cup sweet cherry tomatoes (if possible use the fresh summery heirloom variety), sliced in half.
2 Tbs fresh mint, thinly julienned
Balsamic glaze (thick reduction)
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
Shell all of the fava beans.
While you are busy doing that, bring a small pan of water to a low simmer. Salt the water, and add the fava beans and two cloves of garlic.
Cook for about 2 minutes, and then immediately remove the beans from the water and drain.
Remove the outer skin on the fava beans, leaving the bright green bean in the center.
Remove the garlic cloves, and add both of them with the fava beans to a food processor, (I used a mini prep). Add a dash of salt and about 2 Tbs of Olive oil.
Start pulsing the mixture. Squeeze in the juice of half a small lemon. Pulse and taste. You may need more salt, or more olive oil to make a nice consistency (see picture for desired effect). When the puree is ready, set aside.
Heat a grill or grill pan until very hot. Slice 8 pieces of the French bread, at about ¼ inch thick.
Drizzle them with olive oil, and place on the grill until toasty and barely charred, turning over half way through. Be very careful, do not burn!!
Remove the toast and let cool slightly. Sprinkle the toast with kosher salt and then take the other raw clove of garlic and rub it over the surface of the toast. The crusty bread and the salt will turn the raw garlic into a light layer of paste (and flavor!) over the surface of the bread.
Next toss the cherry tomatoes and the mint with about 1 Tbs of olive oil and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Set aside.
Spread a generous amount of the puree on the tops of each of the 8 toasts. Spoon some of the ricotta on top, and then make a little pile of the tomatoes and mint on top of that. Add a crack of fresh black pepper to the top of the crostini. If you have any extra (I like to make an extra toast), make a sample and taste everything together. See if you need to add more salt.
I place them on a platter, and then lightly drizzle the basil oil over the top (a walnut oil or olive oil would be great too), and then drizzle over the balsamic glaze. Pretty pretty! And soooooo good!