Written and photographed by Natalie Hoch
Spring is here! The gorgeous blossoming pink, white, and lavender trees that lined the streets of Brooklyn in April are now bursting with new leafy green in May. The weather is warm, the air is fresh with recent rain, and the farmer’s market is finally offering more than apples and jams—hooray!
Crisp, flavorful, and bright spring salads are on my mind, and the first fresh produce of the season is giving me an excellent incentive to get creative in the kitchen. After a sunny stroll through Grand Army Plaza’s fabulous market, I decided to combine farm-fresh fava beans and spring beets for a colorful treat, inspired by the blossoming colors of spring.
Pink and green, crunchy and creamy, spicy and smooth—this salad makes for a refreshing lunch on a hot and humid day. Perfect with a crisp white wine and flip flops!
Fava Bean and Beet Salad
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Makes 2 servings
- 7-8 fava bean pods, beans removed
- 1 scallion (white and light green parts)
- 1 medium beet, trimmed but not peeled
- 2-3 radishes
- 1 avocado
- 4 cups arugula
- shaved Parmigiano Reggiano for garnish
Dressing (Note: this may make more dressing than you will need)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- hefty pinch of salt and pepper
Bring 5-6 cups of salted water to a boil in a deep saucepan and fill a small bowl with ice water. Blanch the fava beans for 2-3 minutes before removing with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer and dropping immediately into ice water. After a few minutes, drain beans and, when cool enough to handle, slip off the opaque outer skin to reveal bright green beans; discard skins.
Keep the salted water at a boil and drop the beet in (whole!). Boil gently for about 30-35 minutes or until tender when pierced with a pairing knife. Drain and let cool.
Meanwhile, wash and dry the arugula, removing dirty roots as necessary. Place in the bottom of your salad bowl. Make dressing: put vinegars, salt, pepper and mustard in a small bowl and whisk together, then add olive oil as you continue to whisk. Set aside.
On a cutting board you don’t mind staining a little pink, spear the cooled beet with a fork and peel its outer skin with a paring knife or by rubbing with a paper towel. Only the very thin outer layer needs to be removed, and it will come off easily. Cut the beets into 1/2-inch cubes. Thinly slice the radishes and scallions.
Plate the beets, fava beans, radishes, and scallion over arugula. Cube the avocado into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the salad, dress with the vinaigrette, and top with the Parmigiano shavings. If you’ve got some coarse sea salt on hand, feel free to sprinkle some over the salad as a final touch before serving.