Crostini with Lima Bean & Pecorino Puree
When I spent time cooking in Tuscany, I fell in love with the green, garlicky fava bean puree that’s served in the spring, typically slathered on crispy rounds of crostini and served as an appetizer (with a glass or two of cold Prosecco). Here in Texas, small Fordhook lima beans have a similar taste and texture and, most important, they’re available in the freezer section all year long. With its aromatic backbone of rosemary, The Usual provides all the seasoning you need here. But, it’s fun to dial up the flavor with fresh herbs–mint, parsley, oregano, or thyme all work well here.
The following recipe makes a rich, creamy puree that will resemble your favorite hummus. If you want a lighter texture, feel free to add additional yogurt or olive oil. You can serve this puree straight from the mixture, or refrigerate it for up to four days. Leftovers make a delicious sandwich condiment (think ciabatta rolls with grilled sliced lamb or pork–or sliced tomatoes, arugula, and drizzle of evoo).
1 pound frozen Fordhook lima beans
2 garlic cloves
2 ½ teaspoons The Usual seasoning
⅓ cup lightly chopped fresh mint (optional)
Grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of one lemon (unwaxed), plus more juice as desired
⅓ cup plain whole milk yogurt
⅓ cup grated Pecorino cheese
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
1 bunch radishes (any variety), cleaned and trimmed
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Salt the water, add the lima beans and cook until they’re just tender, 5-6 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander and shock them in cold water, to maintain their color. Shake the colander to remove excess moisture and set aside.
Combine the garlic and The Usual seasoning in the bowl of a food processor and pulse into a coarse puree, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the lima beans and process until they form a rough puree.
Add the mint, the zest and juice of one lemon, yogurt, and Pecorino and pulse until combined. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until well incorporated, and the mixture is voluptuously smooth and creamy. Taste the puree, and add a pinch of salt or additional lemon juice as desired.
To serve, slather a generous amount of the puree on toasted bread and garnish with a few slices of radish.
Adapted from “Cowgirl Cuisine, Rustic Recipes and Cowgirl Adventures from a Texas Ranch,” by Paula Disbrowe (HarperCollins).