This past Christmas, Daniel gave me a calendar he'd seen me admire at one of the shops in the Ferry building. It's a produce calendar with lovely watercolor drawings of various fruits and vegetables for each month of the year. It also includes a list of what's in season. For April, the list includes asparagus, green garlic, strawberries, English peas, and fava beans.
Yesterday while I was at our local farmer's market, I snapped up some pea shoots ($1 for an enormous bunch!) and today while I was doing some supplemental grocery shopping at Draeger's, I saw that fava beans had come in. I scooped some up and started fantasizing about how I might proceed to cook and eat them.
Enter Kimberley Hasselbrink's blog The Year in Food and a recipe for a pea shoot and fava bean salad that looked like spring incarnate.
I suppose blanching and peeling the fava beans could be considered a bit of a chore, but I didn't mind. I made a pea and mushroom risotto at the same time and peeled the beans in between stirring the risotto. The resulting dinner was light and tasted like pure April.
Pea shoot salad with fava beans, slightly adapted from The Year in Food
1/4 lb pea shoots (the leaves, flowers and tender, curly ends)
1lb fava beans
1/4 daikon radish
3 tbsp olive oil
scant tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Bring small pot of water to a boil and blanch the fava beans for 2 minutes, then drain and place in an ice bath. When cool, peel the skin off of the individual beans and discard. Set the peeled beans to the side.
Whisk the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper together.
Toss the pea shoots with the almonds, radish and dressing. Plate and top with avocado slices and the fava beans. Serve.