Fennel Frond Pesto & Fava Beans on Crostini with Market Cheeses
Recipe by Blake Van Roekel, Chef Instructor at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Portland
Makes 25-30 crostini
Ever wonder what to do with all of those fennel greens that you end up composting? It is never fun to toss those greens; they are too good! With this recipe they are made into a pesto, but they can also be added to soups and braising liquid which infuses slight fennel flavor into the mixture.
Fresh fava beans are truly a welcome sign that summer is here. Those combined with the deep rich green of the fennel pesto are summer in a bite.
2 lbs of fava beans
3/4 lb market cheese of choice (consider a mixture of soft cheeses such as Ancient Heritage Adelle, Fraga Farm Chevre or Willamette Valley Perrydale)
8 cups loosely packed fennel fronds (greens from about 2 young fennel bulbs)
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Salt to taste (approximately 1/4-1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp Pernod (optional)
Strip the soft fennel fronds from the stems, discarding the stems. In a food processor, place the greens and olive oil. Process until smooth. Pour in the lemon juice and Pernod. Pulse and season to taste with salt. The pesto can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.
Remove the fava beans from their pods. Blanch for a minute in boiling water and immediately drain and submerge in ice water. It will take not time at all to blanch the beans, as you want them tender but not overcooked. Slip the outer sheath of the bean off and discard.
Mix the pesto with the tender green favas. Season with more salt and lemon juice if need be.
Slice the bread and place in a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and toast until lightly browned and crisp. Let cool.
Spread or place thinly sliced strips of cheese on each crostini. Spoon the Fennel Fava compote on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with finishing salt and serve.
(Visit Blake’s blog, Keuken, to read more about her culinary adventures.)