The green salad stands true to its name in this case, with the many vibrant shades of green that make up summer’s bounty. I often make salads using the same basic rules — a few simple steps can really enhance your salad making skills. I tend to stray away from bottled dressings, I don’t see the point in them. Vegetables this good need very little coverage, and heavy dressings can mask the true flavors. This salad could be made with your favorite vegetables based on seasonality and availability, and nothing is set in stone. Part of being a good cook is being flexible and trying new things! The addition of fresh herbs can brighten up a salad, and I love the saltiness of feta. Salads should be tasty, fresh, and have a good balance of flavors.
mixed organic baby greens (5 oz container)
fresh fava beans (1 pound)
bunch of basil (use about 10 leaves)
celery (the heart)
olive oil (1/4 cup)
sea salt & fresh pepper
Fava beans are the only labor intensive part of this dish. If you’ve had them before you know they are worth it, if you haven’t tried them, please do — fresh, not canned. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a simmer and season with a generous pinch of salt. While the water is heating, remove fava beans from their pods. Place into the simmering water and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spatula place into an ice water bath. This technique is called shocking. It enhances the vibrant green color, as well as stops the cooking process. Remove the vibrant green beans from their shells and place into a salad bowl.
I love celery hearts and use them often in salads. The leafy neon green parts are tender and delicious. Using 3-4 of the stalks, cut on a bias thinly. Place into the bowl, reserving the celery greens on the side. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and the juice of a lemon to the celery and fava beans. Season with salt and pepper. This is a technique I use often, allowing the heartier vegetables to marinate and at the last minute tossing with the greens. This way the greens stay vibrant and firm and the vegetables take on all that flavor.
To cut the avocado, run your blade lengthwise around, using the pit as your guide. Part in half and slice each half in half again. Gently remove the avocado peel. Using your knife slice into same-sized pieces. Add to the bowl and mix gently. Avocado is fragile and if you mess with it too much, it will bruise and get mushy. Lastly add the greens, the celery leaves and some fresh basil leaves. Toss well and season if necessary. I usually season two to three times throughout the process, tasting as I go. Place into two bowls and top with crumbled or cubed feta cheese.
For more delicious recipes visit Nicole’s blog La Buena Vida. And in case you missed it, check out our first salad in the series: Arugula, Wild Rice and Apricot Salad from Good Things Grow.
More healthy recipes from the BLDG 25 Blog!