Tag Archives: appetizer

Fava Bean Crostini with Garlic Scape Pesto

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I recently moved to a new house and, glory of all glories, there is a weekend farmers market about half a mile away. My haul this first weekend was relatively small, I mostly went to scope out the lay of the land and get a feel for the market, I couldn’t be more pleased with my new surroundings. I went with one of my roommates who, later in the day, proclaimed the tomato he had bought to be the best he’d ever tasted, so I look forward to many delicious fruits an veggies to come.

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I’d never worked with fava beans before this dish, so I wanted something simple that would showcase their flavor but also refined enough to make the double shelling process worth it. I’d also never worked with garlic scapes before (and I’m not sure if what I bought were garlic scapes) and I’d always seen recipes for garlic scape pesto and I thought fava beans and garlic scapes would pair beautifully in a crostini.

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Toasted baguette, slathered with two beautiful green spreads and topped with a shave of cheese. A simple dish perfect for having people over on a hot summer night or wowing your roommates and inaugurating a new kitchen.

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Fava Bean Crostini with Garlic Scape Pesto
a combination of this and this

Ingredients
1 baguette
2 1/2 pounds fava beans in pods
1/4 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
1 (2- to 3-ounce) piece Pecorino Romano cheese
10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup slivered almonds
~1/2 cup olive oil

Method
1) Remove outer shells from the fava beans. Bring very salty water to a boil and blanch for two minutes. Drain into a colander, rinse with cold water, and remove secondary shells.
2) Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a medium sized mixing bowl. Add shelled favas and mash with a fork, potato masher, or pastry blender until desired texture has been achieved. Add the chiffonade of mint, incorporate, and set aside.
3) Finely dice the stems of the garlic scapes. You may not be able to use the whole stem because of how fibrous they may be towards the bottom. Add the chopped scapes, parmesan, any small amount of chopped mint you may have left over, and slivered almonds to the bowl of a food processor. Turn food processor on and gently stream olive oil in until desired consistency has been reached.
4) Slice baguette on the diagonal, as many slices as you want/need. Brush both sides with olive oil and place on a baking sheet in a 400° F oven for 5-7 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
5) Take a piece of the toasted baguette, spread first with the garlic scape pesto and then with the fava bean mixture. Top with a shave of pecorino-romano cheese, which you can make using a vegetable peeler or a mandolin slicer.

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Caramelized Bacon

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Let me preface this entry by saying that I had nothing to do with this recipe, in fact, I hate bacon. However, my mom loves my dad, so she made this for him (and a cocktail party they were having) and he was as happy as a clam.

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It’s an incredibly simple recipe that you can use to please any bacon lover in your life, even people who are ambivalent to bacon will love it. Those who hate bacon, however, will run in the opposite direction. When my brother tried it he was so overwhelmed that all he could say was “Oh my God!” over and over again.

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A few notes about this recipe:
1) It calls for 1 lb of brown sugar, we probably only used about 2/3 of it. Feel free to dump the sugar into a bowl as you go in order to reduce waste.
2) We couldn’t find any butchers that had offered custom-sliced bacon, so we bought the thickest stuff we could find (Hormel Premium, if I remember correctly), but it still wasn’t thick enough. To remedy this my mom sandwiched 2 pieces of bacon together using the brown sugar as glue, which worked wonderfully.
3) We found that the bacon requires quite a bit more baking time than the recipe recommends, stick to the 8-13 minutes per side and just flip it as many times as needed until it looks done. It will need time to dry after you take it out of the oven, so don’t fear if it’s not crispy.

Caramelized Bacon
Found in the New York Times by my dad

You can make this up to 3 days in advance. Keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.

1 pound bacon
1 1-pound box light brown sugar (about 2 1/4 cups).

1. Go to a butcher and spend as much money as you have on very good bacon. Cut it into medium-thick slices, say, 3/16 of an inch.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large, rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Dump a box of brown sugar into a big bowl. Light brown sugar is best, but if you want to use dark brown, I won’t stop you. Add 1/4 cup of water, so that the sugar becomes more than damp but less than soupy. Some bacon caramelizers add a dash of cayenne pepper, but it all depends on personal preference. Another way to add some kick would be to use pepper-crusted bacon.

3. Dredge the bacon in the sugar, one slice at a time. If the sugar isn’t sticking to the bacon, add some more water a teaspoon at a time until it sticks. (By the way, you won’t use all of the sugar, but it’s good to have extra.) Place the bacon strips on the paper. I then smear some sugar on top of the bacon, on the theory that if a little sweet is good, more is better.

4. Place the bacon in the oven. It’s impossible for me to tell you how long to cook the bacon because it depends on whether you like it chewy or crispy, but trust me, if I ate bacon I would want it to be crispy. Some recipes tell you to keep it in the oven for 8 to 13 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the bacon. I keep it in on the longer side. You should take yours out when it resembles the kind of bacon you would like to eat. Cut it into roughly 1 1/2-inch triangles. Serve at room temperature. Serves 8 to 10.