Every time we find ourselves in the midst of shelling fava beans, we question whether it's worth the labor. And then, as soon as we take that first bite, we remember: yes, of course. They're buttery, nutty, and so fantastically green in both flavor and color. Toss them with tender potatoes, crisp fennel, and a bright, lemony dressing for a spring salad that's richly satisfying in taste and texture.
Potato Salad with Fava Beans and Fennel Serves 4
1 pound waxy boiling potatoes (such as red, new, or fingerling), scrubbed 1 pound fava bean pods, shelled (about 1 cup) 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced (about 1 cup) 2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds 2 tablespoons chopped chives 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon lemon zest Salt Freshly ground black pepper
Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water by about an inch, and add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside until just cool enough to handle. (For tips, see How To Boil Potatoes.)
Meanwhile, blanch the fava beans and remove the outer skins: Have ready a bowl of ice water and a slotted spoon. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the fava beans and boil for 30 seconds. Quickly remove the beans using the slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice water. Drain the beans and remove the skins; they should slip right off. (For tips, see How To Pick, Clean and Prepare Fava Beans.)
Halve or quarter the potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest, pour over the potatoes, and toss. Add the fava beans, sliced fennel, fennel fronds, and chives to the bowl and toss. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve at room temperature or cover and chill in the refrigerator.