Along with a zingy dressing and a morsel of deliciously complex, and sophisticated prosciutto, this is a delicious asparagus and fava bean quinoa salad salad. Spanish serrano ham can also be used in its place. There are a few differences between Jamon Serrano, but it’s equally tasty.
This spring salad can easily be served as a main or as a side – you can also skip the quinoa all together and just serve the veggies alongside grilled chicken or fish. As you like. The combination of these three green vegetable – peas, asparagus and fava beans (also widely known as broad beans), plus a little Belgium endive makes for a pretty great taste-bud-flavor-party.
Fava beans are a little labor intensive, but they’re definitely worth a little extra effort to be able to enjoy them in soups, salads or pasta dishes.
When using fresh fava beans, they need to be removed from their pods, blanched, and then peeled again to remove the translucent skin of each individual bean in order to get to the tender, delicately flavored bright green fava bean. Fresh beans take a little extra work to prep, but they’re well worth the extra effort. They are deliciously sweet, slightly buttery, with a little promise of summer!
Asparagus and Fava Bean Quinoa Salad
For the salad:
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (200 g)
2 cups water (500 ml)
1 cup fresh fava beans (from about 1 lb / 500 g pods) or frozen fava beans, thawed (100 g shelled)
1 bunch green asparagus, trimmed (500 g)
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed (alternatively use fresh peas)
1 Belgium endive, chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
4 slices prosciutto (or serrano ham), chopped
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated parmesan
juice of 1 1/2 organic lemons
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the quinoa and water to a boil over high-heat. Once cooked, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, parmesan, and lemon juice until combined. Season with salt, pepper and set aside.
3. Shell the fresh fava beans and cook in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a colander set in a bowl of ice water (do not cook frozen beans). Allow the beans to cool for several minutes. Drain and peel; slip off the translucent skin by squeezing gently (the waxy coating will slip right off, this will not take very long). Place in a large serving bowl.
4. Bring the water in saucepan to a boil again; add asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 2-3 minutes, depending on size. Using tongs, transfer to colander in ice water. Drain and add, along with peas and endive, to bowl with the fava beans.
5. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil and cook shallots over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 10-12 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, in a second small saucepan cook the prosciutto over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes.
7. Add quinoa to the bowl with the peas, asparagus and fava beans; pour over the dressing and toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired
8. Top with the shallots and prosciutto and serve. Enjoy!