Fava and Pecorino Crostini with Mint and Pea Shoots

April 15th, 2009 by megan · 21 Comments

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Fava and Pecorino Crostini with Mint and Pea Shoots

Fava and Pecorino Crostini with Mint and Pea Shoots

Fava beans, Pecorino-Romano cheese, and mint – a classic combination that’s just sooo delicious on toasty, garlicy bread. Top it with a handful of pea shoots, and you’ve just produced a crostini that screams “Spring”. Even the color is Spring-y – the fava beans and Pecorino become a beautiful spring green in the food processor. Just wait ’till you see it.

Favas can be a bit of a pain to prepare because you have to remove them from their pods and slip them out of their outer skins once they’ve been blanched. But you can do it – they’re such a fleeting, seasonal vegetable that you’ll miss them terribly when they are gone from the markets.


For the fava bean puree:

1 pound fava beans in their pods
4 ounces Pecorino-Romano cheese, coarsely grated
5-6 large mint leaves, torn
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the toast:

6 slices artisanal bread (I used multigrain, but ciabatta would be nice), sliced on the bias
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, cut in half

To assemble:

1/4 cup pea shoots
10-15 small mint leaves

Special Equipment: Food processor


For the fava bean puree:

  1. Remove the fava beans from their pods. Have a small bowl of ice water at hand.
  2. Bring a small pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Add the fava beans and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the favas are tender (you’ll have to slip them out of their outer skins to test for doneness).
  3. Remove the favas and plunge into your waiting bowl of ice water. Let cool for a few minutes, then remove the favas to drain.
  4. Slip the inner, bright green favas out of their outer, white-ish skins. This is a bit of a pain, but I promise that you won’t regret it.
  5. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the fava beans that have now been freed of their jackets, the Pecorino, the torn mint leaves, the olive oil, a small, tiny pinch of salt (Pecorino is salty), and a grinding of black pepper.
  6. Process in the food processor until you get a smooth puree. You can add a bit more olive oil or even a touch of water if the mixture is too thick for your taste. Remove from the food processor and set aside.

For the toast:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (or use your broiler).
  2. Spread the bread slices out on a small baking sheet. Rub each slice with a bit of the olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Toast in the oven until crispy.
  3. While still hot, rub each slice with the cut side of the garlic clove. You’ll probably only need to use 1/2 of the clove, unless you like it really garlicky (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
  4. Set aside to cool slightly.

To assemble:

  1. Top each slice of toast with a generous smear of fava puree. Top with a mixture of pea shoots and fresh mint leaves.


nina Apr 16, 2009 at 2:21 am

Great minds with the crostini’s!! I love the beautiful bright green color…it must have been delight to bite into!!!

Joan Nova Apr 16, 2009 at 6:10 am

You’re right…this really does scream ‘spring’. It also screams ‘eat me’!

Kristina Apr 16, 2009 at 8:06 am

Yes! I love pea shoots. I thinned my peas last night, garnishing our salad with the ones I’d culled. They were delish.

maggie (p&c) Apr 16, 2009 at 8:16 am

I’ve been dreaming of a fava bean spread—where did you score the favas?

megan Apr 16, 2009 at 9:13 am

I got the favas at the Park Slope Food Co-op, and the wonderful pea shoots at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. I love pea shoots, too!

sivan harlap Apr 16, 2009 at 9:28 am

oh my, this looks so delicious! mmmm. and beautiful!

Natasha - 5 Star Foodie Apr 16, 2009 at 11:23 am

These crostini look so delicious and full of wonderful refreshing spring flavors!

helen Apr 16, 2009 at 11:34 am

Oh, spring, are you here (in Vancouver) yet?

This looks lovely. Fava beans and pecorino are a match made in heaven.

anna Apr 16, 2009 at 11:41 am

This sounds fantastic! Exactly the kind of thing I want to be eating right now. I’ll have to look for favas next time I’m out shopping – up here in Maine it takes a bit longer for spring to gather steam and it’s still mostly root vegetables galore but any day now!

katiek @ kitchensidecar Apr 16, 2009 at 12:27 pm

I LOVE PEA shoots too. This looks so fresh for spring.
I want to eat it!

Chinese people eat pea shoots all the time. They are great stir fried with garlic. Some people combine then with ham, but i think it is wholly unnecessary.

Interesting fact: There are actually 2 types of pea shoots. the ones that look younger (like sprouts) or the bigger ones.

The smaller ones have more of a fibrous characteristic, whereas the big ones are more gentle and buttery. The larger ones are more sought after.

Sorry… just a dose of chinese learnings for the day

ps i made mochi cookies. and changed methods halfway through…kinda wild.

megan Apr 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm

thanks for the pea shoot facts! i want to eat your mochi cookies. how did they turn out? are you going to post the recipe?

gastroanthropologist Apr 17, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Love the color … I like how you added mint to this.

Ulla Apr 17, 2009 at 2:08 pm

OMG! This is so creative and spot on for what I have been craving! So talented!:)
Just gorgeous!:)

The Duo Dishes Apr 17, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Mint and peas are such an interesting combination. It must taste so fresh on the tongue. It’s pretty, that’s for sure.

lisaiscooking Apr 17, 2009 at 3:17 pm

What perfect, green color! This looks delicious!

Rosa Apr 17, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Very spring-like and wonderful! This crostini looks delightful!



Marc @ NoRecipes Apr 18, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Love the infusion of spring into this dish. I need to get with the season and lay the pork belly and braised dishes to rest.

katiek @ kitchensidecar Apr 18, 2009 at 9:59 pm

just took a look at this month’s gourmet magazine. A fava spread with arugula pairing is featured. It reminded me of this post. You are so ahead of the beat.

megan Apr 19, 2009 at 9:38 am

mmmm pork belly and favas would be amazing, though. pork + favas is a classic Spanish combo! And favas with arugula sounds awesome, too! I have to check that out, I feel like I may have accidentally let my Gourmet subscription lapse because I haven’t seen that issue yet.

Abby May 3, 2009 at 10:15 am

This looks delicious. There have been beautiful pea shoots at the farmers market. Favas are a lot of work, but worth the effort.

Emily and Tom Apr 18, 2010 at 9:32 am

We just made this and thought it was fantastic! Definitely watch the added salt as the pecorino has plenty. YUM! A bit of EVOO drizzled on top was nice.

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