Fava Beans and Pecorino

Fava Beans and Pecorino

John von Pamer


  • fat clove garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  kosher salt, plus large pinch
  • 1 Cup  peeled fava beans
  • 12  mint leaves, torn
  • 4 Teaspoons  coarsely grated Pecorino Romano
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  •   Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 Teaspoon  lemon juice
  •   Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices Italian long bread

This is our take on the classic Ligurian salsa maro, which is made of crushed fava beans, mint, pecorino, a little bit of garlic, and a squeeze of lemon to brighten the whole thing up. A mortar and pestle works beautifully here — you get a nice variation of texture, with some bigger pieces and smaller bits as well. If you just dump everything in a food processor and pulse it, you'll wind up with a more uniform consistency, which isn't quite as interesting to eat (see note below).

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In a mortar, combine the garlic and pinch of salt and pound together briefly with the pestle to break up the garlic. Add the fava beans and mint and pound until the mixture has a spreadable consistency. Stir in the Pecorino Romano and olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper, to taste, and the lemon juice.

Preheat the broiler. Drizzle 1 side of the bread slices with olive oil. Toast, oiled side up, until golden and crisp, 1-2 minutes. Spread the hot toasts with the fava mixture. Drizzle with more olive oil and serve.


Note: If you want to use the food processor for this, go ahead, but be careful and pulse the favas to get different-sized pieces.

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