Chunky Fava Bean, Parmesan and Preserved Lemon Crostini

Posted by on Apr 7, 2013 in Musings, Recipes | 2 comments

Some of my chef friends are Hors D’oeuvres Aficionados. They love nothing better than dreaming up gorgeous little masterpieces of multi-layered chips, tuiles, shmears, tartares, phyllo’d, puff pastry’d creations, garnished with micro-sprouts, micro-herbs and dots of pureed you-name-it. On forks. In spoons. Skewered and impaled on toothpicks, rosemary stems or whittled lemongrass.

And these hors d’oeuvres are beautiful. Gorgeous. Hours of work, usually accomplished with tweezers in hand and a steady eye. I have made many of these myself, in search of that perfect morsel to start the evening with or as part of a grander cocktail party spread.

But, I often find myself returning to tried and true favorites: Warm Gougeres; Creamy Chicken Liver Mousse; Smoked Salmon Croque Monsieur. The things that people love and devour and never mind eating over and over again. Comfort hors d’oeuvres. Veal and Porcini Meatballs. Seared Tuna. Crostini.

Crostini are a humble hors d’oeuvres. Simple. Satisfying. The blank slate of a perfectly toasted baguette slice opens up a world of possibilities and each season brings new flavors and ingredients to play with.

These crostini were inspired by 3 things: The arrival of the first fava beans of Spring; my 5 jars of preserved Meyer lemons from last winter’s harvest and my current addiction to labneh.

In past years, I have pureed the fava beans, making a luxurious creamy spread for the crostini. But at this time of year the fava beans are small and tender, so I left them whole and tossed them with tiny cubes of parmesan cheese and diced preserved lemon peel for a nice chunky texture. The labneh provides the creamy layer between and the result is a satisfying, crunchy Spring-green, lemon-umami bite.

Chunky Fava Bean, Parmesan and Preserved Lemon Crostini
(makes 16 crostini)

1 pound fava beans
1 ½ ounce chunk of Parmesan cheese
2 quarters of a preserved lemon
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup yogurt cheese (labneh), Greek yogurt or ricotta
fresh ground pepper
16 crostini

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil while you shuck the fava beans. Have a small bowl of ice water nearby.

Blanche the shucked favas beans in the boiling water for 2 – 2 ½ minutes, depending on their size. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon or spider and plunge immediately into the ice water. Drain and pat them dry.

Peel the favas by pinching a small hole in the outer shell and gently squeezing the beans out. Place them in a bowl.

Dice the parmesan cheese into ¼” cubes and add to the fava beans.

Using a sharp knife, trim the preserved lemon quarters down to the yellow rind, discarding the soft insides and most of the pith. Finely dice one of the quarters and add to the fava bean and parmesan mixture. Thinly sliver the other one to use as garnish. Set aside.

Add the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt and 4-5 grinds of fresh pepper into the fava bean mixture and stir together. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice and/or salt if desired.

Finely chop the garlic clove with ¼ teaspoon salt to a liquidy paste. Place the yogurt cheese or ricotta in a small bowl. Stir in the garlic and salt, and 4-5 grinds of fresh pepper. Mix together well.

To serve: Spread each crostini with some of the yogurt cheese, then top with a spoonful of the fava beans mixture. Top with a sliver or two of the preserved lemon rind.


  1. Hi I was trying to find out if you can eat faba bean sprouts. Still hunting for the answer when I came upon the image of the lava bean crostini. It sounds great and am saving this one for future use. I think fava bean sprouts would be delicious, if they are not too tough.


    • Hi, Michele,
      Yes, you can eat the tender new sprouts and shoots as well as the flowers. They are delicious! Great in a salad or quickly sautéed in some olive oil in a hot pan. Enjoy the crostini! Sarah

Submit a Comment