Pea and Fava Bean Crostini with Whipped Feta
Frozen peas and fava (broad) beans get a quick flash in the steam oven before being crushed into a vibrant green topping for garlicky toasts. Served with whipped feta cheese, it's a brilliant appetizer or vegetarian lunch.
For the smashed peas and beans
- 2 cups baby peas frozen is fine
- 2 cups fava beans broad beans, frozen is fine
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves a very large handful
- 2 tbs preserved lemon 1/4 of a whole lemon, flesh and pith discarded, skin finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 4 tbs olive oil you may need a little more if the mixture is too thick
For the whipped feta
- 7 oz feta cheese room temperature, roughly crumbled
- 3 1/2 oz cream cheese about half a cup, room temperature, cubed
- 6 slices ciabatta bread or sourdough, toasted
- 1 clove garlic halved, cut sides rubbed over each piece of toast
- 1 tbs olive oil for drizzling, optional but delicious
- 8 sugar snap peas finely sliced for garnish, optional
For the pea and bean smash
Set your oven to 100⁰C, steam only (100% humidity). Put the peas and beans into a shallow pan in a single layer and steam for 4-5 minutes, until they’re hot but not overly cooked.
While the vegetables are in the oven, drop the mint leaves into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to chop them. Add the diced preserved lemon and pulse briefly again.
As soon as the beans are cool enough to touch, pop each one out of its greyish outer skin and drop the bright green insides into the food processor with the mint and lemon. When you’re done, tip the peas in as well.
Pulse the processor to chop everything roughly, then, with the motor running, pour in your oil slowly, using just enough so the mix comes together as a cohesive mass. The idea is to chop the peas and beans fairly well but not to make a smooth paste out of them.
For the whipped feta
Scrape the smashed peas and beans into a bowl and rinse the food processor (unless you’re fine with green flecks in the feta, which would be totally ok with me if I came to your house). Put both cheeses into the processor and run it for a few minutes until you’ve got a very creamy, smooth consistency.
- The quantities given make enough to cover 4-6 large pieces of toast, or 6-8 medium ones.
- The smashed peas/beans will last for 2-3 days in the fridge, covered with cling film directly on its surface to stop browning. The whipped feta keeps for 4-5 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- If you don’t have preserved lemons on hand, go and buy them or make some right now to keep in your fridge because they are super easy and will last for ages and make all your meals sing. Kidding (well, sort of. They are pretty great). Just shower a bit of finely grated lemon zest over the top of your crostini, or omit it altogether because the greens on their own are still fabulous.
- The whipped feta is incredibly easy save for one thing which I learned the hard way: both the cheeses need to be at room temperature or you’ll be cursing the big cold clumps flying around in your processor and steadfastly refusing to become the creamy, salty delight you’re after. Don’t be like me and make an easy task stupidly hard.
- If you aren’t making the whipped feta you might like to add a good pinch of salt to the greens to balance things out.
Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 566mg | Potassium: 334mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 914IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 221mg | Iron: 2mg