This is the kind of salad I make after I’ve pruned a row of fava bean plants. Now that you know you can actually eat them, fava greens make an excellent salad green, tasting faintly of favas — very mild and slightly sweet.
The blossoms themselves are one of my favorite edible flowers. I don’t always get fava flowers when I prune my plants, but when I do end up with a few on the stem, I like to scatter them across a plate. Think of them as silky little hints of spring peas!
Both parts of the fava plant pair beautifully (on the eyes and the tastebuds) with another cool-season favorite, citrus. A combination of sweet orange and tart grapefruit segments (or suprêmes to you fancy folk) perk up this green salad without overpowering its light, earthy flavor.
Since the process of segmenting citrus produces so much juice, I use that as a base for a zesty dressing. Even though this salad sounds like a gourmet undertaking, it’s surprisingly simple — right down to that dressing.
If your fava leaf harvest is a little light this round, mix it with spinach, lettuce, mizuna, or another mild green. This recipe serves two as a side or one as a light lunch.
Fava Leaf Salad With Citrus, Feta and Walnuts
Makes 2 servings
For the Salad
1/4 cup walnuts
2 cups packed fava greens (leaves and tender tops)
1 orange, zested, segmented, and juices reserved
1 grapefruit, segmented and juices reserved
1/8 cup crumbled feta
Fava blossoms (optional, for garnish)
Orange zest (optional, for garnish)
For the Dressing
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon orange zest
Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast the walnuts for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through, until they turn golden brown. Coarsely chop and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the reserved juices with the dressing ingredients. Add the fava greens to the bowl and lightly toss with the dressing.
Divide the greens between two plates and arrange the orange and grapefruit segments around the greens. Sprinkle the walnuts and feta on top, then garnish with a few fava blossoms and the remaining orange zest.
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