Friday, May 30, 2008

Warm fava bean salad with shallot-tarragon vinaigrette

Simply put, this was one of the most addictive vegetable dishes I've ever made. If you try it, I dare you to stop thinking about it. Jon and I have been talking about it nonstop for a couple of days now, and I'm seriously concerned that the fava bean season will end before I have the opportunity to make this at least one more time -- or seven!

The butter knocks this dish down a peg on the ladder of ideal nutrition, but it's worth it. Warming the shallots and tarragon in it results in a vinaigrette that approaches the unearthliness of bearnaise, but without its shining halo of cholesterol. The jalapeño hints at more grounded origins, without imparting any real kick of spice.

(adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten)

1 1/2 lbs fresh fava beans, shelled
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
small jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 medium shallot, minced
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
parmigiano reggiano or pecorino romano for grating

1. Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch the fava beans for 1 minute. Transfer to the ice water, drain, then peel them.
2. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the fava beans and cook over moderately high heat, without stirring, until blackened, about 1 minute. Transfer to a serving bowl and season with salt.
3. Add the butter to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until it just starts to brown, about 30 seconds. Add the garlic and cook over low heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the jalapeño and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the shallot and cook over low heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and remove from the heat.
4. Add the garlic-jalapeño mixture and warm shallot vinaigrette to the beans along with the tarragon and toss well to coat. Grate cheese over the bowl.


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