This salad has spring written all over it. When I was tossing all the ingredients together before serving, I took a breath and it smelled the way it feels to be outside when everything starts to bloom. If that makes any sense.
Put another way, it’s fresh and vibrant. The texture is also great: I like the combination of crunchy green beans, soft avocado and noodles.
The original recipe calls the green beans “haricots verts,” which is the French word for them. When my younger brother was in high school French, I used to quiz him on his vocabulary and he’d answer every question with “haricots verts.” So now that’s what I think of when someone uses that word.
ANYWAY. I digress. You should probably try this salad soon. It comes together fast enough to make on a weeknight. And it makes so much that you can have it more a couple more meals.
Here’s a song I’ve been jamming out to lately. It’s a great accompaniment to chopping and food processing, both of which are involved in this recipe.
Spring Soba Noodle Salad (from Food & Wine)
6 Brazil nuts
1/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 small garlic cloves
pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces buckwheat noodles
1/2 pound haricots verts, halved crosswise
1 1/2 cups fresh young peas (8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups shelled and peeled fava beans or thawed frozen lima beans
8 ounces arugula, thick stems discarded and leaves chopped
1/2 cup lightly packed parsley, chopped
1/2 cup lightly packed basil leaves, torn
1 Hass avocado, peeled and cubed
finely grated lemon zest and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the nuts in a pie plate and bake for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to a food processor and let cool completely. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic and crushed red pepper and pulse until a chunky paste forms. With the machine on, gradually add the oil until incorporated. Season the pesto with salt and black pepper.
In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the noodles until just tender. Drain and cool under cold running water. Drain again. In a large bowl, toss the noodles with 2 tablespoons of the pesto.
In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the haricots verts, peas and fava beans until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain well and add to the noodles; toss well. Add the remaining pesto along with the arugula, parsley and basil; season with salt and black pepper and toss again. Transfer the noodles to shallow bowls and top with the avocado, lemon zest and cheese. Serve right away.