Knowing I would have an army of free hands to shell three pounds of fava beans, that decided this side dish for a pork tenderloin. I decided to alter an Epicurious salad recipe calling for bitter arugula with sweeter pea shoots—my favorite kind of salad. And in April, the addition of asparagus and fava beans made this a one-two-three punch. —tanabutler
Test Kitchen Notes
This salad is a very simple and lovely way to showcase the best of spring. The recipe uses three seasonal ingredients that work nicely together. I really enjoyed the combo of the slightly sweet, crunchy pea shoots with the strong, green asparagus and tender beans. I agree with tanabutler that is worth peeling the favas -- the skins are tough and hide the beautiful emerald green of the beans. The cheese is a great way to season the salad and I love the added oomph of a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. - Stephanie —The Editors
fresh pea shoots
asparagus, blanched, and cut into 1/4" discs
fava beans, shelled, blanched, and peeled
Pecorino cheese, coarsely grated
Drizzles of the very best extra virgin olive oil you have
Best flaked salt you have (sea salt, kosher, etc.)
Blanch asparagus until bright green, then plunge into ice water bath to shock it and prevent further cooking. Drain well: use towels if needed to dry the stems. Cut stems into 1/4" pieces, leaving tips intact. Set aside.
Shell the fava beans, and blanch them for 2-3 minutes. Cool quickly in ice water, and drain well. Remove the skins (or not, if you prefer; I don't mind the extra work for the results), and set aside.
Coarsely chop the pea shoots into thirds and put them on a platter (12"-14" or so). Top with the aspagus and fava beans, strewn evenly over.
Drizzle the olive oil gently back and forth, without using too heavy a hand. Add the grated Pecorino (you can substitute Parmigiano Reggiano), and delicately hand salt the salad. Add a small amount of cracked pepper, and you're done. (You may also add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, but I think the salad is perfect without it.)