Well, it’s been over a year since my last Boxing Day post.
excuses reasons, I suppose, from the physical fatigue of working straight through COVIDtimes to the mental fatigue of, nine years into this CSA-focused project, fighting to find something fresh to say about, say, kale.
But last week at the shop, a customer asked if I’d given up the blog, sweetly adding that she missed hearing my voice on the page—and after I told her I guess I’d been taking an unplanned break, I went into the breakroom and had a wee cry.
Because that’s when it hit me that I’d not written a thing since my mother’s eulogy; she’d died suddenly a year ago today.
So here’s proof, Ma, that I’m still eating my vegetables. I think of you every time I pull out your old gooseberry-pattern Pyrex bowl or level off your flour cup. And so very many times in between. Here’s to you.
Fava Bean Toasts
No favas? No problem. I do pretty much the same thing with English shelling peas, using a two-minute blanch and shock before I smash them with a fork. Edamame (soy beans) work great, too.
- 2 pounds fava bean pods (should yield about 1 cup of shelled beans)
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1-2 tbsp toasted, sliced, slivered, or roughly chopped almonds
- a few springs of fresh, tender herbs (I used both mint and basil)
- Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper
- 8-10 slices of grilled or toasted baguette
- fromage blanc or other fresh, spreadable cheese (optional)
- Parm, Pecorino Romano, or other hard, aged cheese (optional)
Shell the beans by pulling on the stringy stem at the top and then splaying the pod open like a long, green book. The beans should pop right out with your thumb.
Bring a large pot of water to boil, and load a large bowl with ice and a bit of water. Add the beans to the pot and cook for three minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the beans to the ice bath. Once they’re cool enough to handle, gently squeeze each bean from its outer skin. Discard the skins, and put the beans into a small mixing bowl.
Toss the cooked beans with the olive oil, lemon juice, and zest. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the toasted nuts and fresh herbs. Let it all sit for ten minutes, then taste again and adjust the lemon, salt, and pepper to your liking.
Schmear a layer of your spreading cheese (if using) on each toast, spoon over the bean mixture, and garnish with a few mint leaves and/or a couple curls of the hard cheese.