Here is a contemporary twist on the traditional three bean salad; it calls for fava, flageolet and Anasazi beans. Fava beans, also known as broad beans, are rich in nutrients. Look for favas in pods that are not full to bursting, an indication that the beans are old. If fava beans are unavailable, use blanched haricot verts or edamame (fresh soybeans). Flageolet beans are tiny, tender French kidney beans while Anasazi beans are speckled red-and-white beans; you can use navy or white kidney beans in their place if necessary. Add brown rice, barley or quinoa to this salad and you have a complete vegetarian meal.
1 cup shelled fava beans
3/4 cup flageolet beans, soaked for 2 hours or overnight and rinsed
3/4 cup Anasazi beans, soaked for w hours or overnight and rinsed
1/2 cup minced red onion
1 cup seeded diced tomato
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt, optional
1/4 cup calendula petals, optional
1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water. Immerse the fava beans in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, drain and plunge into ice water for 30 seconds to stop the cooking process. To remove the fibrous outer shell, make a small incision with your fingernail on one end of the shell, pop the bean out and discard the shell. Transfer the beans to a bowl and set aside.
2. Drain the soaked flageolet and Anasazi beans. Place each variety into separate pots and pour 3 and 1/2 cups of water into each; bring to a simmer and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the beans are just tender to the bite. Drain the beans, saving any excess cooking liquid; set aside to cool.
3. Combine the fava beans, flageolet, Anasazi beans, red onion, tomato, basil, parsley, and olive oil in a mixing bowl; mix well. Stir in 1/2 cup of the saved cooking liquid and season the salad with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Garnish the salad with calendula petals, if desired.
Makes 8 servings.
Adapted from The Golden Door Cooks Light & Easy: Delicious Recipes from America's Premier Spa by Chef Michel Stroot (Gibbs Smith, 2003).