June 8th, 2010

{recipe} Fava Bean Salad with Basil Vinaigrette & Crumbled Egg

We’re back in Brooklyn! A little worn out. A lot tired. But happy. Happy to have been part of such a beautiful wedding. And also happy to be home.

Sadly, I didn’t have time to explore the New Orleans food scene while away. I was too busy eating on the run. But what I did get to sample was goooood… and rich. Sherried turtle soup. Crawfish cheese cake. Jambalaya. Bananas foster. By the time I got home, I wanted veggies. Salad. Green stuff. This fava bean dish hit the spot.

Fava beans are a bit of a pain. It’s true. They come in long pods that need to be shelled. You do this as you would any other long green bean: snap the tip, pull the fibrous thread down the seam, open lengthwise along that seam and pop out the beans (which are encased in a fluffy sponge-like layer, like carefully packed jewels!).

Doesn’t sound so bad, right? It’s not. But that’s also not it. Once you boil or (preferably) steam the beans, you’ll find that they have a wrinkly, waxy, greyish shell. Just tug or tear it open to reveal a vibrant green bean inside. That’s the edible part. Once you shell all of the cooked favas, you’re finally ready to do with them whatever you like (fava hummus, on crostini with olive oil and shaved parmesan, tossed in pasta). They’re delicious and worth the work, when you have the time.

(Check out this super easy to follow tutorial for step-by-step instructions on preparing favas.)

This salad—nothing more than cooked favas tossed with a basil vinaigrette and crumbled hard boiled egg—is great warm, room temp or even chilled. A perfect side dish for entertaining or taking on a picnic. I served it alongside a pizza, but instead of topping the pizza with an egg, I used serrano ham (in step two, after spreading cheese, add the ham and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until done).

Okay. So much for going light. But it was good. And it was Brooklyn food, through and through. It’s nice to be home.

Fava Bean Salad with Basil Vinaigrette & Crumbled Egg
serves 4-6 as a side
(can be adapted to serve kids 6+ mos)

6 lbs fava beans (unshelled)
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, peeled
about 1/2 bunch basil, cleaned
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp grated parmesan
salt & pepper
1/2 c olive oil
3 hard boiled eggs, crumbled (ie, roughly mashed with a fork)

1. Steam fava beans according to instructions above. Once shelled for the second time, set aside.

2. In the meantime, make the vinaigrette: whirl garlic, basil, vinegar, parmesan, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth. Continue mixing while slowly drizzling in the olive oil.

3.Toss beans with dressing and about 3/4 of the crumbled egg. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve, topped with remaining crumbled egg.

*Note: Puree a handful of plain steamed favas for kids as young as 6 months. I mashed some of the completed salad for my 7 1/2 month old, egg, dressing and all. He loved it. You can do the same for kids 7-8+ months or, if you’re holding off on eggs whites, puree before you mix the egg in. (Remember, egg yolk is widely considered safe starting at 8 months.)

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