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.