Fava Bean, Pea, and Jersey Tomato Salad

fava bean salad

We’ve reached that wonderful part of summer when we still have access to spring crops, but the later summer crops, like vine-ripened tomatoes, are starting to appear in farmers markets and Co-Ops. Here in Philadelphia, most of our earliest tomatoes come from New Jersey, which is famous for their juicy fruits. Combining spring and summer produce, I put together this very simple, and very delicious, salad with fresh fava beans, snap peas, tomatoes, and red onion. You could also add fresh herbs with abandoned! It’s perfect for these days when the weather really begins to heat up.

Fava Bean, Pea, and Jersey Tomato Salad

fresh fava beans, steamed in their shells, and then pealed.

sugar spap peas, ends trimmed and strings pulled

some big juicy tomatoes, of any type, vine ripened and chopped

a large red onion, finely diced

Toss the vegetables together – only the favas will need to be cooked. To avoid refrigerating the tomato (which destroys its flavor and texture) you can put this salad together ahead of time, adding the tomatoes before eating.

Whisk together a vinaigrette of good quality olive oil, white wine vinegar, sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and the zest and juice of one lemon. I like to balance my vinaigrettes 1/3 oil to 2/3 acid (the vinegar and lemon juice) but some people prefer to reverse those proportions.

Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables, add any chopped herbs that you enjoy (I suggest mint, parsley, basil, oregano, tarragon and/or sage) and toss. Let marinate at least 15 minutes before serving.

Tomato Salad with feta, cucumber, and capers

Tomato Salad with cucumbers, goat cheese, and capers
Tomato Salad with cucumbers, feta, and capers

I love tomato salads, and I love the heirloom tomatoes that I’ve been receiving n my CSA. They are so delicious, and perfectly ripe, that they make me wonder why I ever even bother eating tomatoes out of season – its like an entirely different food. During hot spells, I like to keep my refrigerator full of fresh produce and put together simple salads, even multiple salads, for quick and easy meals. While I love Mark Bittman’s recent article on 101 salad ideas, I prefer to just make my own up, based on what I have around the house and my mood. This simple salad was just a large chopped heirloom tomato, some small chunks of cucumber, a crumble low-fat feta, capers, sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and a splash of red wine vinegar. Not even any oil. Right before I ate it, I walk out to my front porch and grabbed a few leaves of fresh basil, tore them up and threw them in. And you know what? It was perfect.