Nutritionist’s Pantry — Marinated Persian Cucumber & Fava Bean Salad with Fresh Herbs
- posted on: July 25, 2017
- posted by: Robin Crowder
By Amanda Bullat, MS RDN CN Amanda leads our culinary education program at 21 Acres.
What’s one of the simplest ways to add farm-fresh flavor to your meals? Add a few leaves or sprigs of your favorite seasonal herb! Herbs can be one of the easiest crops to grow, especially for those of us with limited growing space. If you have a window and you have a box that will hold dirt and a little water, you can have a thriving herb garden year round in your windowsill.
The 21 Acres Culinary Education Team and I incorporate herbs in almost every class we teach at 21 Acres and in our daily lives. Not only do herbs provide delicious flavor without having to add more of the common flavor enhancers (aka sugar, fat, salt), but they also provide great nutritional benefits. In addition to vitamins and minerals that many plants provide, herbs also have volatile oils that lend antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties to our diets. For example, 1 tablespoon of parsley delivers more than 50 percent of our recommended daily dose of vitamin K and its volatile oils are good to help with cleanliness in your kitchen as an anti-microbial.
The recipes used in our culinary education classes typically highlight herbs growing on the 21 Acres Farm including: parsley, sage, chives, rosemary, mint, tarragon, basil, cilantro, thyme, borage, and sorrel. We use hardy herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and sage in making roasted root veggies or for enhancing flavor profiles of sustainably raised meats. We’ll toss softer herb leaves from parsley, mint, cilantro, basil, and chives into salads or herb pestos. Since 21 Acres kitchen doesn’t use lemons (We haven’t figured out how to grow enough of those in WA yet!), we’ll often use sorrel as a citrus replacer for a tangy flavor in recipes.
Speaking of recipes, here’s one from last week’s class, Cooking From The Farm Market with chef Michaela Skloven. All of the ingredients were found in the 21 Acres Farm Market.
Marinated Persian Cucumber & Fava Bean Salad with Fresh Herbs
1 1/2 pounds Persian cucumbers
1 pound fava beans
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Grape seed oil
1 large or 2 medium spring onions
fresh herbs including: mint, basil, tarragon, sumac
To Make the Favas:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with plenty of salt (salt like the sea!). In the meantime, remove the fava beans from the pods. Prepare an ice bath, and when the water boils, blanch the favas for 3-4 minutes until just cooked through. Immediately plunge them into the ice water and allow to cool completely. Once they’re cooled, slip the favas from the skins (discard the skins).
Break or cut the cucumbers into 1 inch irregularly shaped pieces and put them into a mixing bowl. Toss the cucumbers with the sugar and salt, then transfer them to a colander. Put the colander into the mixing bowl to allow the cucumber juice to drain into the bowl. Let the cucumbers sit for 20-30 minutes. In the meantime, thinly slice the onions and pick the herbs. Toss the cucumbers, favas, onions, and herbs with the oil and vinegar. Check the seasoning. Garnish with a sprinkling of sumac.
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