Spring produce is some of my favorite, and I'm not ready to give it up yet. That's why this weekend I found myself putting a handful of questionable fava beans into my grocery basket. If I was honest with myself, I'd realize that fava bean season is pretty much over. The large wrinkly pods, brown and bruised, did not look promising. Yet somehow, some way, I reasoned, they would taste good. On my way to the register I picked up a bunch of woody-looking asparagus.
To balance out these bad decisions, I found a salad from Jamie Oliver's first book ever, The Naked Chef, that smothered all the blanched vegetables in a delicious dressing of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, mustard and olive oil. To add even more green, he calls for haricot verts, French string beans. The vegetables weren't so bad, it turns out, though I cooked them a bit too long and forgot to shock them in ice water to seal in their bright green colors. The good news is that you could pour this amazing dressing on pretty much anything and it would do you well.
About the author: Blake Royer lives in Brooklyn and spends most of his free time cooking and writing about it here at Serious Eats and on The Paupered Chef. From 9 to 5 weekdays, he works as an assistant book editor in Manhattan.
- 2 large handfuls each of:
- Shelled, blanched, and peeled fava beans
- 1-inch lengths of asparagus
- Haricot vert or trimmed green beans
- For the dressing
- 1 generous tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 5 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Peel open the fava bean pods and remove the beans. Blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water, then remove and cool quickly. Split open the pods to reveal the bright green beans inside.
In the meantime, combine all the dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake until emulsified (or whisk well in a bowl, adding the oil last in a slow stream).
Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook for a minute or so. Follow with the asparagus for an additional minute, then add the fava beans. Cook until softened but not limp, then drain and plunge everything into an ice bath.
Toss gently with the dressing to coat and serve.