Fresh fava beans are available every spring and are a very versatile and healthy vegetable that can be used in an unlimited number of ways. This fava puree can be used as a topping for bruschetta, as a spread for a panini, or even as a topping for pasta. I also love to stuff cherry tomatoes with it to use on antipasti platters. When lava beans are in season, I often make the puree from the recipe below and freeze it in small containers so I can use it for many uses over the next couple of months.
If you have never prepared fava beans before, you might find the task a bit daunting, but once you get some practice they can be prepared pretty quickly. First you must remove the beans from the thick, rubbery pods. Next cook in boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes and then drop into an ice water bath. Finally, the beans need to be removed from their rubbery skins. I find this can be accomplished very quickly by cutting a small slit into the side of each bean, and then by squeezing the tender bean out of the shell. Since fava beans are spring vegetables, when they are out of season you can often find them frozen and I find the frozen ones to work very well in this recipe and are often small enough that they do not require peeling. The puree recipe below will probably make more than you need, so you can store the extra and use it to spread on grilled bruschetta. These tasty tomato tidbits are best served at room temperature, and should be assembled shortly before serving.
Note: To serve the puree as a bruschetta topping, grill or broil slices of crusty bread until lightly browned on both sides. Brush lightly with olive oil on one side, and then spoon on the fava bean topping. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and garnish with shaved pecorino cheese.
Deborah Mele 2011
Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed With Fava Bean Puree
A colorful fresh tasting addition to any antipasti tray.
- 36 Ripe Firm Cherry Tomatoes
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive Oil
- Grated Pecorino Cheese
For The Fava Bean Puree:
- 2 Cups Cooked, Peeled Fava Beans
- 3 Garlic Cloves Cooked With The Beans
- Juice Of 1 Lemon
- 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/3 Cup Grated Pecorino Cheese
- 1 Teaspoon Basil Pesto
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Dash Of Red Pepper Flakes
- Wash the tomatoes and remove the stems.
- Take a very sharp knife and cut off the top of the stem end.
- Put the tip off the knife into the tomato and run it around the inside of the tomato between the the pulp and outer shell, preserving the outer shell. Take a small spoon and scoop out the inside pulp and seeds of the tomato.
- Layer a few sheets of paper towels and place the tomatoes cut side down to drain.
- Continue to prepare all of the tomatoes in the same manner, and leave to drain 10 minutes.
- To make the fava bean puree, using a fork, mash all of the ingredients together.
- To fill the tomatoes, the it is best to puree everything smoothly, but leave puree fairly thick so it can be piped into the tomatoes.
- To assemble the tomatoes, first cut a small piece off the bottom of the tomato to allow it to stand upright.
- Place the tomatoes cut side up and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place some of the fava bean puree into a pastry bag and add a fluted tip.
- Start to fill the tomatoes by placing the tip inside the tomatoes and squeezing some of the puree to fill the inside, and then leave a small point on top.
- Continue to fill all of the tomatoes in the same manner.
- Drizzle the top with a little of the olive oil, then sprinkle with some of the grated pecorino cheese.