Cooking has been the cornerstone of my life since I was about 18 years old. Over the years, that love for cooking expanded into a passion for the restaurant industry, entrepreneurship, wellness and travel. Those four things don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but when you figure out what lights your soul on fire, I think we need to find ways to weave those things into our everyday existence.
In 2018, I sold my restaurants to make room for something new to grow. I’m not sure what that is yet, and I’m not turning away from the restaurant business, but rather, looking at it from different angles. I’m nurturing my wellness even more these days as I reset from years of working 7 days a week.
So now, in 2019, I live part-time in a van that’s equipped with a badass kitchen, complete with a 3 burner propane stove and an oven! While on the road I cook almost every night, exploring new recipes but also keeping it simple with seasonal, nourishing dishes that are full of flavor.
Cooking with the seasons will automatically make everything that you eat taste 10x better. You can feel the freshness and the vibrancy in the food! Since fava beans are now popping up at local farmer’s markets (and at my favorite source for produce in Portland, Oregon—Rubinette Produce) I decided to make this simple, healthy and delicious dinner while on the road. I like to be fully transparent so I must tell you that I wasn’t in my van when I created this meal, but I was in a vintage travel trailer on the Oregon Coast about the same size as my van. This is a dish that I would absolutely make while living in my adventure vehicle!
Ooh La La Fava Salad Serves 2
Pickled Onions: 1 medium red onion 1 cup water 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 1 T maple syrup or honey 1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes Dressing: 3 T tahini Juice of 1 lemon 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 cup olive oil Salad Ingredients: fresh seasonal greens for your “bed” of greens 1 or 2 carrots sustainably sourced salmon - about 6 ounces per person a couple big handfuls of fresh fava bean pods organic feta cheese 1 lemon flakey sea salt (I like Maldon sea salt) fresh cracked pepper olive oil aleppo pepper focaccia bread for serving (optional but delicious!)
Directions: 1) Make your quick pickled onions: Thinly slice your red onion and place it in a 1-pint mason jar. In a small saucepan, combine the water, vinegars, maple syrup or honey, salt and red peppers flakes. Bring to a simmer then very carefully pour this mixture over your sliced onions. Let the pickled onions sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before using. Refrigerate any leftovers for later use. 2) Wash and dry your greens. I like to buy 2 or 3 different kinds of greens and wash them all at the same time. I tear them into bite sized pieces and then store them in a spacious container or directly in my salad spinner in the fridge for easy access. (It’s so easy to add handfuls of greens to other meals if you already have them prepped, and you’re avoiding those big, plastic disposable containers that greens often come in. Of course, if you don’t have space to store extra greens just buy and prep them as needed.) 3) Make your salad dressing by placing the juice of one lemon, 3 tablespoons of tahini, a 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small mason jar. Shake it until it’s emulsified and then adjust the seasoning to your liking. 3) Prep the fava beans by removing the individual beans from the pods. Place some cold water and a few ice cubes in a small bowl and set aside. Bring a small pot of salted boiling water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, drop the beans into the water and cook for 45 seconds then immediately transfer them to your ice water bath. When the beans have cooled, break open the waxy outer shell of each bean to reveal your bright green fava bean. 4) Prep your carrots by peeling off the out skin and then using your peeler, shave long, thin strips of carrot for your salad.
5) Season your salmon well with salt and pepper. Warm a large skillet over medium heat and add a glug of olive oil. Once the skillet is nice and hot, place your salmon in the pan skin side down. Cook until golden brown and crispy on one side, about 4 minutes. Flip the fish over with a spatula, and cook until it feels firm to the touch, about 3 minutes more. (I alway cut a slit in my salmon to check for doneness. You want it to be just fully cooked through, but not overcooked). 6) While your salmon is cooking, assemble your plates. Place the greens on your plate and then top with feta, fava beans, carrots, pickled onions and your sauce (the sauce is thick so just splatter some around and then mix the salad up with the sauce when you eat it). 7) When your salmon has finished cooking, place it on top of your salad. Drizzle a little olive oil over everything and sprinkle some alleppo pepper across the top. Serve with wedges of lemon and more sauce on the the side.