This easy appetizer is a perfect addition to any springtime party.
What to buy: Look for whole fava bean pods that are not shriveled or brown. The inside of each pod should be lined with white fuzz.
Special equipment: A pastry blender or a potato masher gives the perfect choppy texture to the fava mixture and eliminates the need for a food processor—after all, who wants another piece of equipment to clean?
- 1Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Slice baguette on the bias into about 20 (1/2-inch-thick) pieces, place slices on a baking sheet, and brush lightly with olive oil. Place in the oven and bake until lightly toasted and crisp, about 8 minutes. After removing from the oven, rub cut garlic (if using) on each slice.
For the fava beans:
- 1Remove fava beans from their pods and discard pods. Bring a medium pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add shelled fava beans and cook for 2 minutes; drain in a colander and run cold water over the beans until they are cool.
- 2Peel the light green skin from each bean to reveal two bright green inner halves. Discard skins and place peeled beans in a nonreactive bowl.
- 3Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Use a pastry blender or potato masher to mash beans into a coarse, choppy paste. (Alternatively, you can pulse the beans in a food processor.) Fold in sliced mint, taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- 4Top each toast with chopped favas, and garnish with a thin shaving of Pecorino Romano. Drizzle with a few drops of olive oil and grind a little black pepper over each. Serve immediately.