Makes 12 servings

I know that bruschetta usually means tomato season. But we do have long hot days in late spring that just call out for something as light and refreshing as a platter of bruschetta. Sweet, juicy tomatoes are still out of the question, but buttery smooth green fava beans brightened with a squirt of lemon juice and some spring herbs will be even better.

Fresh green-pod favas are only available for a few short weeks each spring so don’t procrastinate when you see them. The beans should be a smooth leathery green without too many dark spots. Cooking and shelling fava beans is rather time consuming, so be ready to spend a good half hour preparing this fine snack.

If the beans have started to develop black spots and wilt before getting around to making bruschetta, I like to simply roast them whole. Then your family and guests will have to help you do all the work. Just oil the whole beans and place them on a pan in a 375º F oven or a covered barbeque on low heat. Roast until completely browned, about 30 minutes. Everyone can then remove their own bean shells and peel off their own pod skins.

3 pounds fresh green fava beans

¼ cup chopped arugula

2 tbsp minced chives

1 tbsp finely chopped mint

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

24 thin slices baguette (French stick bread)

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Cut off the stem end of each bean with a paring knife. Split each bean shell in half and slip the pods out of their velvety liner; discard the shells. Add the bean pods to the water. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Drain the pods into a colander. Immediately transfer the pods to a large bowl of ice water until they are cool enough to handle. Drain the pods. Using a paring knife, nick the waxy skin surrounding each pod and gently slip out the bean; discard the pod skins. You should wind up with about 2 cups of ready to-use beans.

Partially crush the beans to reveal their incredibly beautiful green flesh. Toss with the arugula, chives, mint, lemon zest and juice. Let rest for at least 15 minutes (but a couple of hours is preferable).

Toast the bread slices just before serving. Top the toasted bread with the fava bean mixture. Present on a platter.

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