Serves: Makes 6 servings
- 2 to 2½ pounds fresh fava beans (to yield 2 cups shelled, unpeeled beans)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 9 fresh basil leaves
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 slices Italian country bread, about ½-inch thick and 3 inches long
- Aged sheep's milk cheese (such as pecorino toscano, Manchego, or ricotta salata)
Procedures:At a spring dinner party, pass these irresistible toasts with the evening’s first glass of white wine. The fava bean spread is moist and sweet and a fresh spring green, with pale grated pecorino as its salty counterpoint.
Prepare a moderate charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium.
Remove the fava beans from their pods. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Add the fava beans to the boiling water and boil for 1½ minutes, or a little longer if the beans are large. Drain in a sieve or colander, then transfer to the ice water to stop the cooking. When the beans are cool, drain them again. To peel them, pierce the skin with your fingernail; the inner bean should slip out easily.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small skillet over moderate heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Put the peeled fava beans, the sautéed garlic and all the oil in the skillet, 3 of the basil leaves, and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small food processor. Pulse until nearly but not completely smooth; leave the spread slightly coarse. Transfer to a bowl and stir in salt and pepper to taste.
Grill the bread on both sides directly over the coals or gas flame until golden brown. Top each toast with some of the fava spread, dividing it evenly. Drizzle with some olive oil. Shave or grate some cheese over each toast. Garnish with a basil leaf. Serve immediately.