For this week’s recipe, I chose the Fava Bean. I thought instead of making something really tricky, I’d keep it simple and give the bean a chance to showcase its slightly nutty flavor and buttery texture. You can buy pre-cooked Fava Beans at many grocery stores now but I chose to buy fresh ones in the pods and prepare them myself as there’s nothing like the deliciously simple subtlety of good, fresh produce. Being that it’s now spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, the beans are just coming into season and should be readily available.
Greek Salad with Fava Beans
As a side dish, serves 4. Double recipe for a main dish.
1 cup of olive oil (the best you can get)
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
8 oz. Greek style feta cheese
1 cup of fresh, chopped oregano
1 lb. fresh Fava Beans (in the pod)
1 bowl of ice water to cool
2 large cucumbers (or 1 large telegraph cucumber)
1 small red onion
1 punnet cherry, plum, or miniature heirloom tomoatoes
1/4 cup toasted sunflower kernels
Oil left over from the marinating feta cheese
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano
First, you’ll want to get the feta marinating to let the flavors combine. Ideally, combine the items the items the night before and place in the refrigerator.
Combine Olive Oil, diced garlic,and vinegar and mix well. Cut feta into 1 inch cubes and add to olive oil mixture. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper – to taste – and mix together with oregano. Stir to combine and set aside in refrigerator for at least 1 hour to let flavors combine (again, overnight is ideal).
If using fresh beans, first shell them, slicing along the edge of the outer husk to remove the bean. Place beans in a pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes or until the outer appearance becomes wrinkly. Drain and place in bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Once they’ve cooled, the inner bean (which you want for your salad) needs to be removed from the, now shriveled outer bean shell. When you’ve finished, steam the prepped beans for another 3-4 minutes. Alternatively, you can sauté them but they’re pretty delicate and I wanted to keep them as whole as possible . This can take a bit of time so if you want to cut a corner, you can source the pre-cooked fava beans and no one’s will think any less of ya’.
Sprinkle beans with salt and pepper and set in refrigerator to cool.
Peel cucumbers and cut into 1 inch cubes and add to salad bowl. Julienne the onion and add to the cucumbers. Add the tomatoes, chilled fava beans and feta cheese (reserve the marinade mixture for the dressing) and mix everything together.
Use the reserved marinade mixture and add to a small mixing bowl. Add red wine vinegar, honey, dijon mustard and chopped oregano. Whisk together and set aside.
Combine dressing with salad, mix well and serve sprinkled with sunflower kernels.