Last night’s dinner

Tonight’s dinner

Today is my little nephew’s birthday and my sister-in-law is having everyone over. She is wonderful but never wants me to bring anything. I just can’t do that. I usually bring an appetizer and I try to make something different each time. Realistically, I likely am the only one that ever remembers what I brought the time before but oh well there will also be wine there. That should help.

My sister, the previously named “Queen of H’ordeuvres” made this spread at Easter and I loved it. The only change that I’m making is to serve it on some nice homemade foccacia instead of french stick. This recipe is from a back issue of Gourmet magazine.

yield: Makes 8 servings
active time: 30 min
total time: 30 min

1 cup shelled fresh fava beans (1 1/4 pounds in pods) or shelled fresh or frozen edamame (soybeans; 3/4 pounds in pods), 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling, 1 1/2 cups packed baby arugula (1 1/2 ounces), divided, 3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Toscano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 1 baguette, 1 garlic clove, halved crosswise, 16 mint leaves

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Cook fava beans in boiling water, uncovered, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes, then drain and transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking. Gently peel off skins (if using edamame, don’t peel).

Pulse fava beans in a food processor until very coarsely chopped, then transfer half of mixture to a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 cup arugula, cheese, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to favas in processor and purée until smooth. Add to bowl. Coarsely chop remaining cup arugula and gently fold into fava-bean mixture.

Cut 16 diagonal slices (1/3 inch thick) from baguette and put in a 4-sided sheet pan. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon oil. Bake until pale golden and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Rub with cut side of garlic.

Spoon fava-bean mixture onto baguette toasts, then drizzle with oil and top with mint.

Cooks’ notes:
•Topping, without chopped arugula, can be made 8 hours ahead and chilled. Fold in arugula before using.
•Toasts can be made 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.