If you knew me, you would know that I am pretty stubborn. I’d say it’s endearing but my family might say that this is a fault of mine. I don’t think they should be the ones to throw stones at glass houses because we are all pretty hard headed. There are only certain things I am stubborn about and one in particular, is food. If there is an ingredient I would like to work with and that is difficult to find it becomes the ‘green flag’ to drive my hunt for said ingredient. A treasure hunt if you will, for food. If the item is out of season I will wait, biding my time until that day when I arrive at market and there it is, waiting for me like a gastronomic beacon. There are no words to express the joy that I feel when this happens.
Fava beans are one of those ingredients. They are just beans really, in season now and useful in a variety of ways. I’ve been thinking about making these Fava Bean Crostini for some time now and especially since they were served at a recipe app launch event…one that I wasn’t invited to and am not promoting here. I saw photos of them all over various Calgary fellow foodie social feeds and that fed my hunger to make them even more. The main problem is that for some reason it is extremely difficult to find fava beans here in Calgary even IF they are in season.
Last week the stars aligned and I got lucky (no not THAT kind of lucky!). My friends, the only way you are going to find Fava Beans at the market is by luck. You can try to increase this luck by rubbing a Buddha belly, finding a penny, carrying around a horse shoe, finding a four leaf clover, etc. I find that buying coffee for the person after me works really well also….but I digress. I walked into the Market on Macleod last Friday and there, in a bin not 5 feet from me was a carton of fresh bagged fava beans. I heard bells, I heard whistles and it took everything inside me not to buy out the whole lot. From the amount of attention my fava bean find got on Instagram maybe I should have…I could have made some hefty change. I left the market with two measly bags which, when shelled, ended up to be about 2 1/2 cups worth.Saturday was a busy day…as all late Summer days should be in a foodie kitchen. I made and preserved some rhubarb and strawberry jam and some rhubarb barbeque sauce. Then I started thinking about dinner. We had some lovely fresh Taber corn and a marinating flank steak. I posted about all my food adventures on Facebook and invited the first person who commented over for dinner. I didn’t think the one small flank steak would feed us all so I also thawed some crab legs.
For some reason I had boundless energy and making all that food was fun! I had hubby start peeling the fava beans and he was pretty proud of himself until I told him that he needed to double peel them. He wasn’t too impressed with that but I think he decided that in the end, the Fava Bean Crostini were worth it. I blanched the fava beans for a couple of minutes, then rinsed them with cold water to cool them down. To the fava beans, I added some olive oil, finely grated Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Then I mashed them all up. I had planned on adding some truffle oil to finish it all off when I suddenly remembered I had a little vial of truffle salt so I added a little bit of that too. After everything was mashed together it seemed a little dry. I had heard that this crostini is also made using a bit of mushed peas and now I get why. They would for sure add a little moisture to the mix. I cut a baguette and toasted the pieces, rubbing them with fresh garlic as they came out hot from the toaster. Then I piled on the fava bean mixture and added some truffle oil. My guests had never tried truffle but not to worry, they loved it!
Is there are particular ingredient that you only find when you get lucky?