We love all manner of bruschetta, which at its core is simply a thick piece of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.  Today you find all sorts of toppings for the bread, often including tomatoes and mozzarella.  Our favorite is slightly different.

Years ago I saw a cooking show with Jamie Oliver.  I don’t remember the name of the show, but it no longer airs.  But what I do remember was that he combined fresh fava beans and peas.  Given the peas I’m quite sure he used mint.  I’m also certain on the olive oil and salt.  The parmigiano and mozzarella are guesses.  You could use fresh ricotta, ricotta salata, pecorino, burrata…..you get the idea.  All in all it makes a great topping for crusty grilled bread.

You don’t need to work with exact quantities here.  I keep the proportions of favas and peas roughly equal, and the rest is to taste.  I think a mortar and pestle gives the best result, but you could also use a food processor.

Fresh fava beans

Fresh English peas

Grated parmigiano cheese

Extra virgin olive oil

Several sprigs fresh mint, plus a few leaves for garnish

salt and pepper

Fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced


Thick slices of bread, drizzled with olive oil and grilled on both sides


1.     For the fava beans, peel open the bean pods and remove the inner beans.  Blanche in boiling water 1 – 2 minutes and remove to an ice bath.  Once cool, remove the waxy outer skin from the beans and add to the mortar.

2.    Shell the peas, blanch for 1 minute, plunge in an ice bath, then drain and add to the mortar with the favas.

3.    To the mortar, add coarse sea salt, mint leaves and smash the mixture, slowing adding olive oil until you get a roughly spreadable consistency.

4.    Add grated parmigiano and pepper to taste.

5.    Spread the mixture on the grilled slices of bread, top with mozzarella, garnish with mint or basil and serve.