lemony and minty: braised salmon with fava beans

by Chen

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Spring exclusive.

I am obsessed with almost everything from farmers market, especially in spring. The eggs with orange-colored yolks, fresh-picked strawberries, ultra fragrant herbs, homemade whole wheat pitas, and these highly seasonal fava beans.

Like fresh figs in late summer, fava beans are only available in spring. Since cooking with fava beans requires some work–first remove them from the pods, then blanch, and then remove the shells, I rarely buy them.

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However, the unique earthiness of fava beans is what I can hardly resist. They are very starchy and are perfect as a side for a light and mild dinner. Imagine a hearty chunk of medium-rare salmon that has been simmered with lemon and mint and serve it with fave beans and sweet shallots cooked in the same pot. How much more comforting could it be?

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braised salmon with fava beans
Makes 4 servings

1 tsp olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
1 cup shelled fava beans (see here for the instructions)
1 tbsp packed and minced mint leaves
1 lemon, zest then cut half of it into four slices and juice the rest
2 at-least-1-inch-thick salmon steaks, about 1 1/2 lb in totoal, cut into half
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper

Generously season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the shallots along with a pinch of salt. Cook until the shallots are softened. Add the fava beans, lemon zest, and minced mint to the pot and deglaze with the white wine. Cook until the wine evaporates.

Turn the heat to low. Pour in the half and half. Nest the salmon in the broth and top each piece with a slice of lemon and the lemon juice. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes for medium-rare, or longer to desired doneness. Uncover and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and serve hot.

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