Make Ahead

Raw fava bean crostini

May  7, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

It’s a definite sign of Spring when the first fava beans start making an appearance at market stalls around Florence. Fava beans are known as "baccelli" in Tuscany and for a few weeks in the spring they are everywhere, traditionally presented at the table as they are – long, green, shiny pods which belie the little treasures tucked away inside – the beans are shelled and eaten raw with a nice, salty pecorino cheese or silky, melt in the mouth prosciutto to contrast with the fresh, slightly bitter bite of the raw beans.

These crostini are prepared with the simplest ingredients, inspired by the simple way they are traditionally eaten at a Spring time table in Tuscany - no need to shell the fava beans one by one, just pop them out their long pods and straight into a mortar! I prepare them à la Jamie Oliver (i.e. smashing stuff up with a pestle and mortar and leaving it quite rustic looking); a very good, fruity, peppery extra virgin olive oil with this is a must! - Emiko —Emiko

Test Kitchen Notes

The simplicity of this dish puts the fresh, green flavor of the fava beans at center stage. Lemon juice and pecorino add zest and a salty bite, and spring herbs lend an earthy, fresh taste. Feel free to chop your herbs so the crostini are easier to eat. - broccolirose —broccolirose

What You'll Need
  • 2 pounds fava beans in their pods
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 Loaf of ciabatta bread
  • Handful of grated semi-aged pecorino cheese
  • Several glugs of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs such as mint, tarragon or basil
  • 1 clove of garlic (optional)
  1. Start off by shelling the pods and collecting the beans in a bowl. Put aside some of the beans to use as garnish. In a mortar and pestle, smash up the rest of the fava beans with a few spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil and the lemon juice. Add the grated pecorino cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Meanwhile grill the slices of ciabatta bread and (if you are using the garlic), when they are still hot, rub one side of the bread once with the clove of garlic. If you’re a garlic lover, you can rub more but try not to go overboard with the raw garlic as it tends to overpower!
  3. Top each slice with a spoonful or two of the fava bean paste and decorate with some of the whole fava beans that you put aside at the beginning and a few leaves of your favourite fresh herbs. Tastes like Spring.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Doris
  • theyearinfood
  • vvvanessa
  • kmartinelli
  • edamame2003

10 Reviews

Doris June 7, 2020
This was absolutely delicious. We found shelled fresh frozen fava beans at our local specialty food store so it was easy!!!
We wanted to make it vegan so we omitted the cheese and added extra salt,and lemon. I would definitely add more mint next time!
Dulcinea February 15, 2014
As aside that the words 'raw fava beans' made me think of (although this recipe look yummy!) is that certain people can have very dangerous reactions to raw fava beans. Generally, this reaction is most common in people and esp. men of Sub-Saharan African descent and the reaction is called 'favism'. Symptoms can range from headache, to stomachache, to life-threatening acute hemolytic anemia ... so if you don't feel good when you eat fava's, don't eat any more!

Sorry, but I posted just in case anyone reading this was not aware as this is a potentially life-threatening reaction. I most certainly do NOT have this problem and it looks yummy!
theyearinfood May 10, 2011
This is just lovely.
vvvanessa May 10, 2011
this sounds wonderful. i could eat favas and pecorino all day long!
kmartinelli May 8, 2011
I can't wait to try this! Fava beans are everywhere right now. This simple recipe makes up for the time it takes to shell the favas...! Looks beautiful.
Emiko May 9, 2011
Here in Tuscany, they don't shell the favas but just eat them whole, fresh out of the pods. The slight bitterness of the outer shell is part of the joy of eating it and goes very well with the salty Tuscan pecorino cheese!
edamame2003 May 7, 2011
i was wondering what to do with those beautiful fava beans i've been seeing at the market--thanks for the recipe and trip to tuscany!
Emiko May 9, 2011
you know, your name just made me think that this would be just as delicious with edamame!
edamame2003 May 17, 2011
i just made this tonight and it is truly lovely...and does taste like spring! i love it--and your blog is gorgeous. thank you for the great recipe. i've never had fava beans before--now a favorite. and i may just this recipe it with edamame one day too!
Emiko May 19, 2011
Thank you eda! As soon as I can find edamame in Italy, I'm going to try a fusion version of this too :)