Fava Beans!

I’ll admit – just two years ago, I would have categorized myself in the group of people that learned everything they knew about fava beans from Dr. Hannibal Lecter (liver & a nice Chianti, anyone?).  Then they appeared in my CSA share one week and I asked what to do with them.  I was surprised at the enthusiasm Valerie answered with – she really loves these beans.  A little research for recipes, and I found that seasonal eaters and farmers from around the country look forward to the taste of fava beans as one of the harbingers of spring.  After last year’s fava bean season, I find myself re-categorized.  So today, two different fava bean recipes – enjoy!

Fresh Fava Bean and Pecorino Salad

(found on the NPR website)

 Fava bean and pecorino salad

David S. Deutsch 

Fava beans are a spring favorite in southern and central Italy. This salad, adapted from Patricia Wells’ Trattoria (William Morrow 1993) is popular as a starter or as part of an antipasto spread. If you can only find a hard grating pecorino, use a soft goat cheese. If there are leftovers, saute the beans and cheese with a little oil in a small skillet. They are fragrant and delicious as a warm appetizer.

Makes 8 to 12 servings


  • 2 pounds fresh fava beans (about 2 cups shelled beans)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley basil leaves, snipped with scissors
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red peppers (hot red pepper flakes), or to taste
  • 8 4 ounces soft sheep’s milk cheese such as a pecorino or a soft fresh goat’s milk cheese feta cheese, cut in small cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Bring a small or medium pot of water to boil.
  2. Meanwhile, string and shuck the beans.
  3. Add the beans to the boiling water for one minute, then drain & run under cold water to stop them from overcooking.
  4. Each individual bean has a waxy coating that needs to be removed – the bright green bean will look so much “springier” than the pale green casings do.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, and toss to blend. Taste for seasoning.

 The Verdict:

Obviously, I made quite a few changes to the recipe, based on what we actually had here.  I don’t know how true to the original we were, but this dish was full of flavors we love, so I think we made the right choices!

Tuna and Fava Crostini

(found at epicurious) Bon Appétit  | June 2006

Tori Ritchie

yield: Makes 6 servings

Favas lend a fresh note here. For the most robust flavor, use tuna packed in olive oil rather than water.
  • 18 thin baguette slices
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces fresh fava bean pods
  • 1 6- to 7-ounce can solid light tuna in olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion purple scallion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley plus 18 leaves for garnish
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet; brush slices with 3 tablespoons oil. Bake until bread is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Rub fresh garlic clove on each baguette slice.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Set aside.
  2. Bring medium saucepan of water to boil. Shell fava beans, then drop beans into boiling water and cook 1 minute. Drain. Slip beans out of skins. Place beans in small bowl; add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and toss to coat.
  3. Combine tuna with its oil, minced red onion scallion, chopped parsley, and lemon juice in small bowl. Using fork, mash tuna mixture to coarse paste. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Baguette slices, fava beans, and tuna mixture can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Let baguette slices stand at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate fava beans and tuna mixture separately.
  5. Divide tuna mixture among baguette slices. Top with fava beans and garnish each with 1 parsley leaf.

The Verdict:

I have what may be described as a crazy amount of love for all things crostini-related.  At our engagement party, Travis & I had several appetizers that involved crostini.  We (along with several of our closest friends) made about 15 loaves of bread into crostini.  That may be an exaggeration – it’s been 4 years – but I’m pretty sure that there were more than 10 loaves of bread.  We had bruchetta and tapenade, and I ate those leftovers for the next week straight.  I did not know about fava bean & tuna crostini back then, so it wasn’t on the menu.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love this version of crostini topping as well!


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