Fava Bean Purée and Bruschetta
Fava beans are one of the most common ways that Spring gets celebrated in Tuscany…
A handful of fresh raw beans, a chunk of salty pecorino cheese and a glass of red wine is what we call “Cacio e Fave”; since I can remember I have been seeing everybody around me doing it… my grandfather, my father, their friends and all the farmers and hunters I ever met. The taste of raw beans is definitely something that has to “grow” on you, this is not a kid friendly recipe, due to the bitter back flavor.
However, “Fave e Cacio” makes an ideal appetizer, a great sunday snack while out for a hike, and the beans themselves can be transformed into a few interesting recipes.
The two most famous interpretations, in Tuscan cuisine (farmer’s kitchens) are the Fava Beans Pesto that is used to dress pasta, and the purée.
Today I am passing you the recipe to prepare a nice bitter-fresh spread that you can use to create a memorable bruschetta with fresh burrata and prosciutto di Parma.
FAVA BEAN PUREE
FAVA BEAN PUREE
Serves: 8 Prep Time: 1 hr
Start by cleaning all the Fava Beans out of their shells and set aside. Divide a medium sized shallot in four parts and cut the carrot in a half, rinse the parsley but do not chop it.
Bring your Vegetable Stock to a boil. If you are working from scratch, a few fresh herbs will do the trick, not to worry... just pick up some parsley, a half carrot and bring them to a quick boil in a 1/2 cup of water.
Divide the shallot and the carrot in four parts, rinse the parsley but do not chop it. Place the herbs in a pot with 1/2 cup of mildly salted water and bring to a boil.
Add the fava beans and lower the flame, drain with a ladle after just a couple of minutes, do not discard the broth as you will need it soon!
Rinse the beans under cold water, make sure you do not cook them.... the secret of this very delicate but "opinionated" spread lives in the freshness of the bean. In fact the whole process you put your beans through is to soften their outer shell, so the core can pop out.
Sit down and relax, you have now, one by one, remove the skin from the beans!
In an electric mixer process the fava beans, add a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil to flavor and to help soften the mix, add salt and pepper. In case you would like to add volume (all of a sudden somebody is staying for dinner), this is the moment you can add a potato or too (previously boiled).
Use a few tablespoons of the vegetable stock or the broth you just made to help the purée reach a soft but firm consistency.
Slice the bread and toast it on both sides.
Spread one tablespoon of fava bean purée on each slice.
With your hands break the burrata in a small ceramic bowl and add a generous teaspoon of it on top, then garnish with about 1/3 of a slice of prosciutto.
Dress with extra virgin olive oil, salt to taste and a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper.
I would recommend to be very systematic in preparing this bruschetta; spread all the slices of bread with the purée, add the burrata, then the prosciutto... this way your hands will be clean (and dry) after adding the burrata and it will be much easier to work the prosciutto "into a look"!