Tatsoi and Fava Bean Salad with Ricotta Salata

Last week my small haul from office samples included fresh fava beans! I thought I didn’t know what fava beans were, and then I opened up a pod and realized that they’re the same as broad beans, which my mom always used to buy fried and seasoned in little bags from the Asian supermarket; they made the perfect snack on the way to piano class, and later, student council painting sessions.

Fava beans have two “shells”: one is the outer pod, similar to that of peas, and the other is this outer skin that when fried creates this crispy outer shell, but otherwise is kind of tough to eat and has a funny taste. Once you shell the beans, you have to blanch them in boiling water for about 30 seconds so you can remove the outer skin. Having spent all of Saturday outside at the Great GoogaMooga in Prospect Park with some of my friends, I was ready to eat some home-made, fresh food that didn’t involve frying at all. After an afternoon in Washington Square Park sunning and listening to a fantastic piano player remind me how much I love Gershwin, I went to Whole Paycheck (Foods) to get some salad stuffs.

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I had no idea what tatsoi was until I looked it up–it’s a Japanese mustard green that has a slight sweetness to it. You can stir fry it, but it also tastes delicious with fava beans and ricotta salata in a salad! I used a fig balsamic vinegar straight from Italy to highlight the sweetness of the greens and some mustard in the vinaigrette to echo the other nature of tatsoi.

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Needless to say, my “light” dinner was paired with a giant hunk of squishy sourdough and a post-dinner ice cream trip with an old friend.

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