While the excitement of summer vegetables begins, this is the chance to take advantage of the best local produce. The bright green color and crispy shallot topping of this fava bean salad are a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. The vegetables are cooked until just tender and tossed in a light dressing, and the crispy shallots add a bit of depth and crunch to the dish that really brings it together.
The salad itself has more than enough heft to make it a wonderful main dish for the vegetable lover in the house, especially over a bed of mixed greens; however, it would also be a delightful complimentary dish for grilled meat or a creamy soup. If you plan on making an impressive dish for a potluck, cutting the asparagus into two- to three-inch pieces may make serving it a bit easier.
While asparagus is difficult to pair with wines, something that has a tendency to be crisp, refreshing, and aromatic would be ideal. Wines like Gruner Vetliner, Riesling, an unoaked Chardonnay, or a Pinot Grigio are good matches. Red and oaky wines have a tendency to taste vegetal, overly sharp, or even rotten when paired with asparagus.
This recipe uses frozen fava beans since they can be hard to find in some markets. If you can find and prefer to use fresh favas, add them to the boiling water about a minute before you add the peas. They should be tender at about the same time. Another option if fava beans are not available is to use edamame; they are similar enough to not interfere with the flavor of the dish.
Savory Summer Veggie & Fava Bean Salad
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups fava beans, frozen
- 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
- 1 cup shelled fresh peas
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons flour
In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, parmesan, lemon juice and salt. Set aside.
Fill a bowl with ice water and set aside.
Fill a large, deep saucepan halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until it just becomes tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. With tongs, remove the asparagus from the boiling water and place it in the ice water immediately.
Return the water to a boil and add the peas (skip this step if using frozen peas). Cook for 3 minutes or until the peas are tender. Add the fava beans and transfer immediately to the ice water with the asparagus (the fava beans should defrost quickly so no need to cook for long).
Carefully drain the vegetables and place in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, toss the shallot with flour until lightly coated. Heat vegetable oil in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the shallot and cook until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper town-lined plate and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, add the dressing to the bowl of vegetables and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving platter and top with cooled shallot.