We are in the final days of Spring and sailing right into summertime which to me means sunshine, the beach, relaxing in the park and...the BEST fruits and vegetables are in season! This salad is the perfect addition to your summer BBQ or dinner party menu. It is light, refreshing, crisp and very unique in flavor and appearance. It is unique in that it doesn't have your typical ingredients like Romaine, Arugula or Iceberg. It uses three things that are in season right now and they are Fava Beans, Watercress and Sugar Snap Peas. Fava beans are not a common ingredient for most households but they should be! They are beautiful to look at and have a creamy, but crisp texture and almost a cheesy, earthy flavor that goes perfect with my mint vinaigrette and the Manchego cheese.
1 1/2 Cups Shucked Fava Beans
3/4 Lb Sugar Snap Peas Washed Throughly
1/2 Cup Watercress Leaves (remove the large tough stems)
1/3 Cup Pearl Onions (frozen and thawed)- You can use fresh as well but make sure you cook them through.
White Sugar (just a dash or two)
Manchego Cheese (Using a potato peeler or mandolin shave long thin strips of cheese and set aside)
1/4-1/3 Cup Fresh Mint Leaves
Juice of half a Lemon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Honey (you can always add more if the dressing is too bitter)
1 Heaping Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard
1 Small Clove of Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
First prepare the dressing by blending the Mint, Dijon, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Honey, a dash of salt and pepper and a drizzle of both olive oil and canola oil (using a blend of oils prevents the dressing from being too bitter) in a food processor or blender. Add more oil a little at a time until it reaches the consistency of a vinaigrette or lite dressing Add more salt and pepper if needed. Seal in a container and set aside in the fridge to let the flavors meld together.
Remove and discard the stem and natural "string" from each Sugar Snap Pea Pod. Set aside.
Fill a large bowl of water with ice and water and set aside. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and then drop the Sugar Snap Peas in the water. Boil them in the water for 2 minutes only and then using a slotted spoon remove them from the water and place them in the bowl of ice water to shock them. This helps them retain their color and crunch and cooks them ever so slightly. Once they are cooled in the ice water remove them and dry them off on paper towels (set aside).
Do the same thing with the shucked Fava Beans but for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain and shock in the ice water then remove the outer skin gently. Try not to break up the beans you want them to hold their beautiful shape.
In a small frying pan, place the peeled pearl onions and sprinkle them with a little white sugar. Cook on medium heat rolling them around and coating them with the sugar until the onions caramelize/brown and they are cooked and heated through. Set aside.
Toss the Fava Beans together in a large bowl with the Snap Peas, pearl onions and the cleaned Watercress.
Dress the Salad with a little vinaigrette at a time, making sure you coat each pea and bean evenly but do not over dress.
Spoon the salad onto a serving dish and then take a few shavings of the Manchego Cheese and lay it on top as shown in my photo. You can also just shave the cheese and toss it with the salad!