Fava beans do require a bit of work to prepare; when faced with large baskets, as we often are at the restaurant, many hands are welcome and it all becomes quite sociable.
The following recipe for concassé, a coarsely chopped mixture, can be used in many ways: tossed with pasta, as garnish for chilled soups, with salmon tartare. It also makes a great bruschetta.
Chef Keith Froggett is co-owner and executive chef of Scaramouche in Toronto.
Servings: almost 3 cups
Ready time: 35 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped
1 medium shallot, peeled, finely diced
3 pounds fava bean pods (yields 2½ cups beans)
2 tablespoons finely sliced chives
¼ of a preserved lemon, pithy flesh removed, finely diced
Salt to taste
To prepare the beans, pop them out of their pods, plunge them into boiling water and blanch for about 45 seconds. Lift out the beans, drop them into an ice bath and drain as soon as they are cold. This loosens their exterior coating, which you can slip off using your thumbnail and index finger, revealing a beautiful, emerald green bean.
Warm the olive oil in a small pan; gently cook the garlic and shallot without colouring until soft and fragrant; tip into a small bowl and leave to cool. Using a sharp knife, hand-chop the beans to the appearance of coarse breadcrumbs (make it a rough chop – different sized pieces improves the texture). Put chopped beans into the bowl with the shallot and garlic, add the remaining ingredients and check the seasoning.
To make bruschetta, rub a piece of toasted bread with a clove of raw garlic, spread a generous amount of the fava bean mixture over top and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.