Heather and I made dinner this past Sunday, so we went to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market in the morning for some inspiration. She went for big, plump leeks for a risotto recipe (stay tuned for that one; it’s seriously good), while I sifted through piles of fresh fava beans in big, soft pods, picking out two pounds of the freshest-looking ones. I also grabbed a carton of small heirloom tomatoes, and the idea for this salad started to come together.
Quick tip: when you’re cooking fresh fava beens, you have to remove the beans from the pod, blanch the beans in boiling water, then peel the outer casing from each individual bean. It’s time-consuming, but the beans are delicious and very good for you. And you can always save a few to smash onto toasted crusty bread (or gluten-free crackers) with oil and salt as an amuse-bouche.
If you don’t have fava beans (or time to shell them), you could substitute edamame (Trader Joe’s sells them shelled, cooked and lightly salted), limas, or other large beans in a pinch.
Fava Bean Salad
- 2 lbs. fresh fava beens, hulled
- 1 lb. heirloom or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 zucchini, sliced crosswise
- feta cheese (packed in water is best)
- olive oil
- 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
- ½ tbsp. honey
- ½ shallot, minced finely
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
Pre-heat oven to 400F with rack in the upper third. Mix 3 tablespoons of olive oil with mustard and honey in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then toss halved tomatoes until coated. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut side up, and bake until they begin to fall apart, about 20-25 min.
Toss zucchini slices in remainig oil mixture, place on baking sheet, and bake until bottoms are golden-brown, about 10-15 minutes. Turn slices over, and bake until bottoms are golden-brown again, checking ever 3 minutes. Remove tomatoes and zucchini from pans, and place in serving bowl.
Bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Add salt, and blanch fava beans 3-5 minutes or until you can just see the bright green beans through the pale outer hulls. Shock beans in ice water, about 3 minutes, until cool. Peel outer shells away from beans, and add beans to serving bowl.
In a separate dish, mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil with white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, shallots, and honey to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
When vegetables have cooled to room temperature, add feta cheese and dressing, toss, and serve.