Summer is in full swing and I couldn’t love Seattle any more than I do right now. Our summers cancel out the several months of grey clouds and drizzle that we’re famous for, and our ocean-lake-river-mountain views are absolutely stunning on a clear day. While the rest of the country is experiencing record heat waves, I am basking in 70 to 80 degrees. Most people don’t have central cooling in Seattle because we usually don’t need it; fans provide some air circulation until temps dip back into the 60’s when the sun goes down, usually after 9:00pm. Hard as it is to believe, once it reaches 80ºF outside, you actually do break a sweat inside. Since no one wants to cook inside when it’s this warm, this Fava Bean Salad is perfect for right now.
Favas, aka Broad Beans, are a little high maintenance. You have to shuck them from their pods, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes, and then peel each individual bean. But the work goes fast with helping hands and the results are worth it: Not only are they delicious, but a single cup of favas contains 9 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein. Dan grows a whole bunch every year over winter in his p-patch plot to fix nitrogen to the soil. He brought bushels of them home last week and then we got to work:
He shucked them all from the pods:
That’s about 6 pounds of beans that need to be individually shelled. They need to be boiled for a few minutes first so they’re easier to peel. After blanching them, let them cool down before you peel them. Once you begin peeling, it goes faster if you hold the bean on the side with the little crack and peel a flap off the opposite end:
It took us about half an hour to do all of them:
Favas freeze really well, so any that you’re not ready to use right away can go into the freezer. It’s really nice to have these on hand for dips, soups, or whatever you crave after summer is over:
This salad is the perfect blend of freshness with lemony, nutty accents. Throw it together in about 10 minutes and let the flavors come together for at least an hour before serving.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of one medium lemon (about 3 Tbsp juice and 2 tsp zest)
2 Tbsp finely minced shallot or red onion
2 Tbsp finely shredded mint, fresh
1/4 cup chopped roasted almonds (I love Marcona Almonds here)
2 ounces parmesan or manchego cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and shallot or onion in a small bowl. Lightly toss dressing with fava beans and almonds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Mix well after marinating, then sprinkle with cheese and mint before serving. This is fantastic with fresh grilled fish, smoked salmon sandwiches, or simply on its own. All you carnivores out there would also enjoy and appreciate a few pieces of crumbled bacon or sliced prosciutto thrown in at the last minute.