Thursday, May 22, 2008

What's cooking: Some spring side dishes

New produce is appearing in the markets and in my weekly produce box. And once again, the wheels in my head that turn out recipes and menus have been kicked into gear. This last week it was radishes and fava beans, out of which came these two spring sides:


Coarsely grate radishes using box grater or food processor with shredding attachment.

Add chopped fresh mint.

Drizzle with sesame oil.

Salt to taste.

Wasn't that easy? It adds a nice bit of color too. Alright, on to the next one.


Boil in salted water, drain, and cool about half a pound of orzo pasta

Soak sun dried tomatoes in hot water for about five minutes. Chop coursely and add to pasta. When good tomatoes are available in the summer, I use fresh ones of as many different colors. Cherry or small pear ones work best because they contain less water.

Shell fava beans. 

Prepare a bowl of ice water. Add  fava beans to boiling water and cook for a couple of minutes (time will depend on the size of the beans). Drain into a colander, and set the colander in the ice water to stop the cooking and cool the beans.

Remove the skin on each bean by nicking the end with your nail and squeezing gently.
Add to pasta. 

Then add the following to taste: 
  • garlic (I used fresh green garlic, but regular is fine too)
  • grated cheese (I used asiago, but any type of parmesan will do)
  • fresh oregano, chopped (I use basil later in the year)
  • olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice
  • salt (I used black flaked, which adds another color and a little crunch)
Are fava beans really worth all the trouble? Yep. Aside from their lovely color, they taste like a little bite of springtime. And while they require some labor, it's not exactly brain surgery. You can do many other useful things while shelling and peeling. I shelled sitting in the yard listening to Husband go on about something (I was in bean-shelling zen state, so I didn't really hear him) and peeled supervising violin practice. But sometimes I try to let go of the multitasking and just enjoy shelling and peeling. And try not to think of Hannibal Lecter enjoying them with someone's liver and a nice chianti.

Both of these sides are great with roasted chicken (what isn't?) and are a welcome change after winter sides of potatoes, squash, greens, greens, and more greens.  And both are nicer to take on a picnic than mashed potatoes. 

Happy spring eating. 


Trish said...

Oooh.. some great ideas there! I've got radishes in my CSA box, plus fennel and oranges (hey, it's Florida) and some early nectarines.

Never tried favas.... maybe I need to.

Have a great weekend!

Beth G. said...

Those dishes look excellent! Great ideas for me on this long weekend-happy memorial day weekend!