Healthy Living: Summer Farmer's Market Salad
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a slight obsession with fava beans. (And no, I've never seen "Silence of the Lambs"...which is probably a good thing!) This time of year, when my local farmers market happens to have not only fava beans, but some of my other favorite things–English peas, breakfast radishes, and baby arugula–it's time to make a salad!
This recipe is inspired by a salad I had at Gemma when I had just moved to NYC. Being new to the city, I was completely caught up in the excitement of it all, and everything seemed to taste especially good. But this salad, with its combination of buttery fava beans, mint, lemon, peppery arugula, and salty Pecorino, was exceptional. Despite being rather broke at the time, I couldn't get enough of this salad. I'd save up my tips from waiting tables and head to Gemma and splurge on the $10 salad and all the free bread I could eat. The salad reminds me of summertime, and of those early days of life in NYC with big dreams, no money, and the desire to taste everything that the city had to offer. Every year since, when fava season rolls around, I head back to Gemma for that memorable salad.
I decided recently just to create the salad at home, with the addition of fresh, sweet peas and thinly sliced radishes. It is hands down my favorite salad. (Actually, that's a lie. My favorite salad is in Paris, at Le Petit Fer a Cheval, but that's a story for another day!) I could eat this salad every day–with some good bread and olive oil–and be a very happy camper. It's especially delicious served with some warm goat cheese crostini as a starter, or with grilled fish or shrimp for a light main course. It pairs well with a pale rosé, or with a crisp minerally white wine.
The salad, like many farmers market meals, does take a bit of prep work, but if you share the duties of shelling the peas and favas, it will go quickly. Prep the fava beans using my Fava Beans 101 guide, and as for the peas, just remove them from the pod, boil them for about 3 minutes until bright green, and then plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking. You can use the same pot of boiling water (and the same bowl of ice water) to boil and blanch the favas and the peas. You can also prep the favas and peas in advance and just toss everything together at the last minute–which, if you're making this for a crowd, is what I'd recommend doing.
But most importantly, make the salad soon – favas and peas are only around for a few more weeks! I know I'll be making this salad as long as I possibly can. And then, sigh, another year of waiting.
(All photos in today's post are by Signe Birck.)[recipe:best-summer-farmers-market-salad-fava-beans-peas-recipe]