Spring Fava Bean Spread

Perfectly perfect for a picnic…because sometimes we need our veggies along with our cheese.

Spring Fava Bean Spread

1 1/2 cups fully shelled, blanched fava beans*

1/4 cup olive oil

1 spring onion, chopped

1 stalk green garlic, chopped

1/3 cup Pecornio Romano, grated (or other dry, easily grated cheese)

6 large mint leaves, chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

*note:  3 pounds raw, whole fava pods will roughly equal 1 1/2 cups fully shelled, cooked

Prepare fava beans (remove outer pod, blanche for 5-6 mins, remove outer shell).  New to fava bean prep–check out this video.

Add beans and other ingredients to food processor, blend well.  Add more mint, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, as needed.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Garnish with a few mint springs.  This spread can be served warm as a side dish or as a condiment on lamb burgers.  For picnics, indoors or out, serve cold with fresh vegetables, pita chips or fresh baugette.

Recipe courtesy of Oak Hill Farm, Glen Ellen, CA


asparagus, thyme & parmesan bread pudding

This dish could be served for a spring brunch with sausages as an accompaniment.  I prepared this for a book club dinner potluck and it went over well.  I ended up having to revise the method that Joanne Chang, of Flour Bakery in Bostonm suggests because I simply didn’t read nor understand the instructions properly.  All worked out well and the bonus was that it cut back on preparation time.

adapted from Best of the Best Cookbook recipes published by Food & Wine.

asparagus, thyme & parmesan bread pudding

2 large eggs

6 large egg yolks

1/4 cup AP flour

1 quart half & half

1 tspn chopped fresh thyme

1 cup feshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Kosher slt, freshly ground pepper

12 oz. baguette, torn into 1/2″ bits (about 6 cups)

1 pound asparagus

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F.

Place asparagus in the 9″ x 13″ dish you’ll be baking the bread pudding in.  Pour olive oil over stems and toss together so that it is more or less distributed evenly. Sprinkle a bit of salt and peper over asparagus.  Roast for 10 minutes. Let cool in pan. When cool cut into 1 1/2″ pieces. Set aside. Do not remove oil from pan.

Reduce oven temperature to 250F.  Place torn bread pieces on a cookie sheet.  Place in oven for about 8-10 minutes.  You want the bread pieces to be almost like croutons but not that dry.  You shouldn’t be able to squish them–they should hold their form but feel a bit of density. Remove from oven. Let cool. Place bread in a large bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, flour, half-and-half, thyme, 3/4 cup of Parmiginao-Reggiano, 1 1/2 teaspoons of slat and /2 teaspoon of pepper.  Pour mixed liquid over the bread bits.  Let sit a bit, then toss with a wooden spoon to ensure all the bread is wet.

Let sit for 1 hour.

The liquid should be more or less absorbed by the bread, if there’s a bit left that’s ok.  Place all of this into the baking pan.  Let sit for 20 minutes so the remaining bit of liquid is absorbed.  Distribute asparagus over the top of the bread pudding along with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 35 minutes, so that pudding rises and sets.