This week finds us just past the summer solstice marking when Spring hands over the reigns of the season to Summer. The farmers market reflects this perfect intersection. Spring green vegetables still in their prime next to summer’s first batch of green beans. This week, we meld Spring and Summer with an English Pea, Fava and Green Bean Melange with a Lemon Garlic Scape Sauce, scattered with radishes and spring onions.
After spending several weeks trekking through Italy, I was left with great memories of beautiful art, history, sites, and, of course, food. Simplicity rules the meals, as it has for centuries. Beautiful produce needs little to make a delicious meal and often what grows together, makes great sense together on the plate, too.
As temperatures and humidity continue to rise, I find I not only avoid hot meals but I never want anything stark cold either. This dish works with any temperature but is meant to be served at room temperature when flavors really shine. It is an almost elegant side dish that is still laid back enough to make sense aside any BBQ. It also can be a main dish with the addition of white beans and maybe some smoked fish or best-quality tuna in olive oil.
A visit to the farmers market this summer makes it hard to say no to anything. With this dish, we don’t need to. It all works together in its simplicity now and always. Mangia!
- 1 lb. green beans, trimmed
- ¾ lb. fava bean pods (1/2 cup shelled fava beans)
- ¾ lb. English pea pods (1 cup shelled peas)
- 2-3 radishes, trimmed and sliced thinly
- 2-3 spring onions or scallions, white and light greens sliced thinly into long strips (vertically)
- 4-5 thin and tender garlic scapes, roughly chopped (about a ½ cup chopped)
- 1 lemon juiced (about 2 Tablespoons lemon juice)
- 2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil, or more, if desired.
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Large handful pea shoots or watercress leaves
- Heat a large stock pot half way with water and bring to a boil. *I find it easiest to use a pot that has a strainer insert as we will be cooking the vegetables quickly in batches.
- Fill a large bowl with cold ice water and place on the counter, next to the pot, if possible.
- Remove fava beans from the pod. They will still have a shell covering the bean. When water comes to a boil, place fava beans in water and boil for about 3 minutes. Remove and place into ice water immediately.
- Place shelled peas into the boiling water, cook for 2 minutes.
- While the peas cook, gently squeeze the fava bean out of its shell jacket and place the emerald green beans into a large bowl. Discard the jacket. (I won't lie, it may seem tedious but is so worth it! A few extra family hands and this takes just a minute or two.)
- Using the strainer, remove peas from the water and place into the ice bath.
- Place green beans into the hot water. Cook for 5 minutes or until crisp tender.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove peas from ice water and add to the fava beans in the large bowl.
- Remove green beans and place into ice water (you may need to add a little more ice)
- Remove from the ice bath to a dry towel and mop up any excess moisture. No need to be thorough, they just shouldn't be dripping wet.
- In a blender, combine the chopped garlic scapes, lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil
- Blend on high until garlic scapes are almost completely dissolved. The result will be a thick sauce. If you like, add additional olive oil to thin into more of a vinaigrette.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To serve, place green beans on a plater and scatter with the pea and fava bean mix. Toss with the pea shoots and scatter radish and scallions on top. Drizzle with a bit of the sauce and serve remaining sauce on the side. Or, you can toss it all as a salad.