yields 4 – 6 servings
1 pound English peas in the pods
1-1/2 pounds fava beans in the pods
1 small bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
Maldon sea salt and fresh ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces fresh pecorino, such as Toscano Stagianato
12 – 1/2” slices good quality, chewy baguette
juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
1 large ball buffalo mozzarella
1 handful pea shoots, if available
Shell peas and fava beans into separate bowls. In a small saucepan with a steamer basket, blanch fava beans for about three minutes. Rinse in cold water. Pinch one end to remove the bright green bean from its pale outer shell. Set aside. Finely grate pecorino cheese. Tear mozzarella ball into 12 semi-flat ‘slices’ as opposed to chunks. Set cheeses aside.
Using a good size mortar and pestle or a shallow baking dish and a potato masher, bash the peas with half the mint leaves and a pinch of sea salt. Add the fava beans a few at a time and crush to a thick green paste.
Add a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for a lovely consistency and to really bring it all together. Mix in grated pecorino and two thirds of the lemon juice. At this point, taste the mixture. You want to balance the richness of the pecorino and olive oil with the freshness of the peas, beans and mint. Season with more salt and pepper, as needed.
Place the 12 baguette slices on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment or aluminum foil. Broil on low, 2-3 minutes on each side. While still hot, rub each slice with a cut half of the garlic clove.
Cover each slice of baguette with a thick layer of paste, not too evenly, to keep the presentation a bit rustic. Top the pea mixture with a piece of buffalo mozzarella. Mound a few pea shoots and some mint leaves atop each bruschetta. Place on serving platter and drizzle with a mixture of remaining 1/3 lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Best served immediately with a glass of prosecco or pinot grigio. Do not make more than an hour in advance.
This mixture would work well tossed with pasta, pesto-style, or try adding a dollop atop grilled or broiled white fish.
Recipe adapted from ‘Jamie at Home – Cook Your Way to the Good Life’ by Jamie Oliver.