Light summer supper

This evening I set out to make a light summer supper using lots of the ingredients from our CSA. Well, when Garden of Eden was price gouging its customers for halloumi cheese at $10.99 for a turd-size package and we bought it anyway as our primary source of protein for the meal other than some fava beans, I succeeded on the “light” front in the that way a girl only just starting down the road to recovery from a decades-long string of A-type achievement still secretly enjoys succeeding. So while I’m calling this a light supper, you may want to try it as a first course, or as a light supper to eat while you’re waiting for the pizza delivery guy to arrive. It will be a very delicious, colorful and nutrient-packed way to wait. (And with some good crusty bread and butter, it actually does make a fine and filling meal.)

Like a proper light summer supper, preparation (except for dealing with the favas) is simple and minimal, and a variety of the freshest ingredients are free to steal the show. This week we got some of my perennial favorites from our CSA, along with a total left-fielder that turns out to be incredibly easy to use: our herb of the week, salad burnet. I am particularly excited about this one, and only partly because I didn’t know such a thing existed until yesterday. It tastes like cucumber water and absolutely puts mint to shame in the “essence of freshness” department; and any herb that has only a stub on Wikepedia, gets no results on, and produces a gratifying “search error” on is certainly exotic enough to toss nonchalantly into polite conversation throughout the week, never mind into a salad.

Beet greens, too, are a real unsung hero of the summer. I must admit to not being on the short list for beet eating champion of the year, but the greens are really spectacular, with a mild, versatile flavor and a lighter texture than lots of other uber-healthy greens. I am also really in love with fava beans. They take a little work to prepare at this time of year (as opposed to very early in the season, when you can eat them raw in their inner skins); but there is something very grounding about going through the process to get to that bright green, earthy result. And if you’ll allow me just one more bit of proselytizing that you didn’t ask for, before I leave you to your food – if you haven’t tried halloumi cheese, which is a mild, slightly grassy Greek goat and sheep’s milk cheese that browns in a saute pan like a creamy-centered dream, please do – it really is worth being gouged for on occasion.

Alright, I know. Enough making out with the produce and dairy products already. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

Beet Green and Fava Saute with Tomatoes and Halloumi

2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 garlic scapes, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds fava beans in their pods (or one Catalpa Ridge share)
Greens from 1 bunch beets
3 tomatoes of various colors, cut into wedges
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Small handful of salad burnet, chopped
As much halloumi cheese as you can afford, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the beans, remove them from their pods and give them a quick wash. Blanch the beans in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, and then plunge them into a bowl of ice water. Once they’re cool, peel the skin off each bean to reveal the green gorgeousness inside.

Remove and discard the stems from the beet greens, coarsely chop the greens and wash thoroughly.

Heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add the scapes (or a clove or two of chopped garlic) and saute for about a minute. Add the favas, beet greens, and a few tablespoons of water, along with some salt and pepper. Cover the pan, and cook for about three minutes, until the beans are just tender and the greens are just wilted. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and half of the lemon juice.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the sliced halloumi and cook for a minute or two, until golden brown on the underside. Flip with a spatula and brown on the second side.

Divide the sauteed veggies among your plates. Arrange the tomato wedges around the outside and the cheese slices on top. Sprinkle the salad burnet, remaining lemon juice and a little more salt and pepper over everything, and serve right away.

Note: I had halloumi on the brain after seeing this recipe, which also looks delicious, yesterday as I was thinking about what to do with our favas.

  • familia Bybaran

    This sounds divine. I love fava beans. I grew up eating them straight out of the pod–boiled and salted. I am jealous that your CSA has them.ReplyCancel

  • Johnny Falschgedank

    I have not tried this technique…ReplyCancel

  • Diana Pappas

    let me preface this by saying that I have had a love affair with Halloumi cheese for years, since the first time a Cypriot friend of ours grilled a couple of slices of it directly on the grill and folded it up in a grilled pita for me. That said, this sounds like such a delicious recipe and therefore I just dropped my 10.99 on it a Garden of Eden (bastards) and will be making this tonight for my weekly dinner with my dad! I’ll let you know how it goes!ReplyCancel

  • Diana Pappas

    SUCH a good meal! I followed the recipe to the letter but ended up doing what I do when I cook swiss chard, which is to say that I chopped up some of the stalks and cooked them first in the oil and then added the garlic and continued on as usual. I love how the halloumi and fava played off each other. I served it with a couple of slices of Marie’s Bread and a Salmon filet (skin on) cooked up on my grill pan (which was wide enough for me to grill up the halloumi on the edges so everything was timed perfectly). Mmmm. Thanks for the great recipe!ReplyCancel

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