Spring Peas and Fava Bean Salad with Ramps

I’m am back from a quick trip to the homeland (Puerto Rico, that is) for a little bit of beach (Vieques, baby!) and a lot of much needed family time (my sister got married!). Amongst all the sun bathing, bonding, eating, dancing, horseback riding, kayaking, and crying, I “forgot” to upload this wonderful recipe. Sigh.

Just before leaving for Puerto Rico, I selfishly made a dinner reservation at one of my favorite Brooklyn restaurants to celebrate Day’s birthday. I was in desperate need for inspiration and Dover delivered! I love this restaurant. Their attention to detail and love for everything fresh, local, and vegetable, made me a fan out of me upon first impression. Unlike any other restaurant I’ve been to, Dover celebrates every ingredient’s flavors and textures with finesse, especially if it’s got roots and leaves attached to it. They master vegetables like it’s nobody else’s business.

Take for example their staple Fall/Winter Cauliflower salad: raw cauliflower, fried cauliflower bits, and capers drenched in a super tangy lemon dressing. Every bite is the perfect combination of fresh, crunchy, and satisfyingly fatty cauliflower livened by a dressing that keeps each bite exciting and energizing. Upon our spring return I was blown away by what seemed like a humble salad of spring peas. It only took one bite for me to melt all over the banquette, excited to taste something good, something exciting, for the first time in months. I had to recreate this dish for Tasty Plan.

This Spring Pea and Fava Bean Salad is the bomb!

Sweet, salty, tangy, and oh so fucking delicious, this salad is a fresh take on the classic combination of peas an mint. Peas and fava beans are cooked until just tender, but still bright green, then tossed with mint, cilantro, and scallions for a refreshing hearty fresh mouthful of popping peas, spicy scallions, and aromatic herbs. While ramps shine through, the super simple dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar and lemon elevate the grassy spring flavors to the next level.

Warning! If you decide to go the right way by buying fresh peas and fava beans, prepping this dish (aka, shelling the hell out of all these beans) will take a while (30 minutes tops!) So, pour yourself a tall glass of whatever alcohol makes you happy, sit back and enjoy the process. It’s summer for god’s sake! Nonetheless if you are the impatient kind, frozen peas and frozen fava beans are just fine, just cook until thawed and mix in with the dressing and enjoy what a real salad should taste like.

Spring Peas and Fava Bean Salad with Ramps

Serves 2-3

Cook time 15 minutes, plus shelling time

  • 2 cup fresh shelled peas, from about a pound and a half of sweet peas
  • 1 cup shelled fava beans,  from about a pound of whole fav beans
  • 5 scallions
  • 4-5 ramps, if available
  • 1 handful fresh mint
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • couple sesame seed dashed for garnish

If using fresh peas and fav beans, remove beans from pods. This might take a while, so sit back and relax! discard pods and set beans aside until ready to cook.

Place 4 cups of water in a sauce pan; bring to a boil. In a separate bowl place a couple cups of ice and a couple cups of cold water. Place shelled fava beans in boiling water. Cook for four to five minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in cold water.  Place sweet peas in bowling water. Cook for six to seven minutes, or until bright green and tender. Taste as you go to get desired consistency if using fresh peas. Once ready, remove with a slotted spoon and place in cold water. Let beans and peas sit for a couple minutes in the cold water, then drain. This step will prevent them from getting dark green and brown.

Fava beans need to be shelled again before being ready to be served. Using a pairing knife, make a small cut through the while pocket. Using your fingers either peel of push the bean through. Discard white shell and keep green fava beans. Set aside.

If using ramps, place a small pan over high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and heat through for a couple of minutes. Remove bottom roots from ramps and discard. Cut ramps in half and place in pan. Toss for two to three minutes. When leaves become wilted, remove from heat and set aside.

In the meanwhile, whisk olive oil, apple cider vinegar and lemon in a large bowl until just incorporated. Add the cooked fava beans, sweet peas, and ramps. Thinly slice scallions, mint, and cilantro. Add herbs into salad bowl. Mix everything together. Add a dash of sesame seeds and serve immediately!