Grilled Bread with Fava Beans and Escarole
I love fava beans, especially when I can get them fresh from the garden. Peeling and shelling fresh favas takes some work, but the payoff is so great that it's well worth the effort. Pureed with garlic and lemon and spread on grilled country bread, this is a great antipasto offering for a summer evening.
Makes 24 pieces and serves 8
Wine suggestion: Pinot Noir
3 pounds fresh fava beans in the pod
1 clove garlic, minced
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 12-ounce bunch escarole, trimmed, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
24 slices country-style bread, cut 3/8-inch thick, grilled or toasted
3 ounces Pecorino cheese
Lemon wedges as a garnish
Shell the beans and discard the pods. Bring a saucepan three-quarters full of water to a boil. Add the beans and cook over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Drain the beans, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Let the beans cool for 10 minutes. Then pop the skins off the beans.
Place the beans, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a skillet. Over medium-high heat, cook the beans, stirring frequently and adding the reserved cooking liquid as necessary to form a rough paste, 20 minutes. Remove the beans from the heat and pulse the mixture in a food processor or blender to form a smooth paste. Stir in the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
In another skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. Add the escarole and cook, tossing frequently with kitchen tongs, until it wilts, 2 to 3 minutes. Toss in the vinegar, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.
Spread the bean puree on the grilled bread and top with the wilted escarole. With a cheese shaver or vegetable peeler, shave a few thin slices of Pecorino onto the top of each piece. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately.