This winter I saw a few recipes that called for fresh fava beans, but I’ve never been able to find them in a store, so I chose this to be one of my experimental crops in my community garden this year. They are a bit of work to shuck and peel, but they are so tender and delicious. I think I’ll be growing them again next year to try out a few of the other recipes. This salad capitalizes on the availability of fresh vegetables in the summertime, at the peak of their flavour.
What you need:
- about a pound of fava beans in their shells
- one cob of fresh corn, cooked and the kernels cut off
- a few small cucumbers or half a large one
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup lightly toasted walnuts
- your favourite vinaigrette or this one:
- 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- a little salt and pepper
- 2 – 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
What you do:
- Toast the walnuts a little and let them cool. I do this is a frying pan, tossing often and watching them carefully so they don’t burn.
- Cook the corn and let it cool. You can boil it for just a few minutes or grill it.
- While the corn and nuts are cooling down you can prepare the fava beans. Begin by boiling a large pot of water. Remove the beans from their pods, then boil for 2 & 1/2 to 3 minutes; less time for smaller beans. Drain then cool down right away in a bowl or sink full of cold water; ice water is even better.
- Now comes the labourious part – remove the skin from each bean. Make sure you’re listening to some good music and the time will pass quickly.
- Mix the vinaigrette ingredients and pour some of it over the sliced red pepper to mellow the flavour a little. Let this sit for about 20 minutes.
- Slice the cucumbers as thinly as you can, with a mandoline.
- Combine the cooled fava beans, corn, cucumbers, and the onion with its dressing. Toss lightly, then add more dressing if you think it is needed; I liked it best lightly dressed.
- Top with the toasted nuts just before serving.