Those of you who know me know that I have a weakness for fava beans. So much so that I recently told a local chef that “fava beans make me weak in the knees”. Not sure how he took that comment (I think we’re still friends), but it’s the truth. My adoration of fava beans began in my childhood, thanks to my dad, and has only gotten stronger and more pronounced as I’ve gotten older. Some people go crazy for ice cream, I go crazy for fava beans.
When I wandered into Pastaworks yesterday afternoon, I had barely an inkling of what I wanted to make for you. I had spring and fresh herbs on my mind and thought it would stop there. What I walked out with, was an armful of young asparagus, arugula, fava beans, sorrel (tastes like a young lemony lettuce) and fresh mint. Oh, and let’s not forget the borage flowers! How could I possibly walk away from borage flowers? I’ve only ever seen them growing wild during wildflower season in Texas and I always thought about harvesting them for their natural and medicinal oils, but never did. It’s moments like those that I thank goodness my path brought to the Pacific Northwest where we have farmers like Viridian Farms growing and harvesting such an abundance of wonderful and unique produce. I feel spoiled living here, and I’m OK with that.
Spring Herb Salad with Fava Beans, Young Asparagus and Fresh Mint
This dish hardly needs a recipe. Find whatever fresh, local
herbs turn you on and toss! I listed the borage flowers as optional,
but they are definitely worth hunting down. Their taste is fresh with a hint of earthiness from their natural oils.
One bunch baby arugula, stems removed if tough
One bunch fresh sorrel, torn into bite sized pieces
A handful of young asparagus
A pound or so young fava beans, hulled
Borage flowers, optional
Coarse Sea Salt
Fennel Pollen, optional
Prepare a bowl of ice water and set aside.
Break the asparagus in half and place in boiling water for about three minutes.
Using tongs, remove asparagus from water and place in ice water bath.
Place fava beans in boiling water for about two minutes, just until their skins start to burst.
Remove favas from boiling water and place in ice water bath.
Drain the asparagus and fava beans.
Remove skins from fava beans, if you like. When they’re young I eat them skin and all.
Toss all of the ingredients in a bowl with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of fennel pollen.