In my culinary world, not all dishes called "salads" have to consist of mainly leafy greens. Don't get me wrong, I love my baby romaine, mesculun, iceberg wedge, and butter lettuce salads just as much as the next person. But, to me, a salad can be as simple as composing fruits and/or vegetables together with a light dressing of some sort, creating a wonderful and tasty dish. Take, for example, "fruit salad" - you aren't going to find any leafy greens in that bowl - rather simply seasonal fruit tossed together.
Last fall, Fellow Foodie and I made Thomas Keller's Green Bean and Potato Salad, which was a delicious composition of green beans, figs, potatoes, and walnuts. Using its simplicity as inspiration, I decided to make a fresh, Spring-Summer composed salad using (again) green beans, but instead pair them with radishes, fava beans, and new potatoes garnished with pinenuts and chives. Lightly dressed with sherry vinaigrette, this salad was a hit with my Buttermilk Fried Chicken - the acidity from the sherry vinegar plays off the natural sweetness of the favas and green beans, while the radishes and potatoes add differential textures to the rest of the salad. Enjoy this dish as a side salad or add some goat cheese or cooked chicken to make it a full meal.
1 pound green beans (preferrably haricot verts), trimmed and washed
5-6 large pods of fava beans, shelled
3-4 radishes, very thinly sliced
4-5 small to medium red or yellow skinned potatoes (or fingerlings), sliced 1/8" thick
small handful/bunch of chives, finely chopped (for garnish)
1/3 C toasted pine nuts (for garnish)
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 C sherry wine vinegar
1/4 C red wine vinegar
1 C extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper
|All of the components, prepped and ready to go!|
For the potatoes: in a small pot, add cold water and the potatoes and set over medium-high heat; bring the water to a boil and add some sea salt; cook the potatoes until fork tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain potatoes and run under cold water to cool them down to room temperature.
For the green beans: In a medium pot (or the one you used for the potatoes), add water and salt and bring to a boil; add the beans and blanch for 4-5 minutes, or until the beans turn a bright green and are still crisp but slightly pliable when bent. Drain beans and immediately place in an ice bath to shock the beans and stop cooking (or run under cold water to cool to room temperature).
|Blanching the green beans|
|Boiling the favas|
|Removing outer shell from favas|
To compose: in a large bowl, add the green beans, favas, potatoes, and radishes; toss lightly with the dressing, enough to coat the vegetables but not drown them (you will have extra dressing). Plate the salad and sprinkle pine nuts and chives on top.