Spring Fava, Nantes Carrot and New Potato Salad

Despite our wet spring, or more likely because of it, the garden is especially abundant this year. I picked the first of the spring favas yesterday. Actually, my son Brian did most of the picking, and pulled up some carrots, a few baby red potatoes, and a couple of spring onions. One look at the contents of the basket, and a beautiful springtime salad was born!

Favas have a velvety texture and mild, herbal flavor. They are a gorgeous addition to salad or pasta when they’re young and small. As they get bigger and starchier, they’re lovely in a puree with crostini. They take a bit of an effort to prepare due to their double shucking, but they’re worth it given their fleeting season. Nantes carrots are a particularly sweet cultivar, and their flesh is a lovely reddish orange color, but any variety of carrot will do for this salad. Just try to avoid the giant, starchy ones! Baby potatoes straight out of the garden have a wonderful sweet flavor. If you buy them at the market, seek out small ones that don’t look as though they’ve been in storage for a year. They should be firm with no tinge of green.

Along with those other famous spring vegetables, asparagus and artichokes, favas can be a bit challenging to pair with wines. And salads can sometimes be difficult to pair because of their tart vinaigrettes. This is where Sauvignon Blanc, the wine pairing hero, comes in. Sauvignon Blanc’s high toned aromas and flavors of grapefruit and green grass are a perfect match to the fresh flavor of favas. And the wine’s high acidity creates a bridge for the acidity in a vinaigrette.

I hope you enjoy this taste of spring as much as we did.


1 pound fava beans in their pods
4-6 Nantes or other small carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal
6 small new potatoes, gold or red, sliced in half
2 spring onions, sliced crosswise thinly
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sherry vinaigrette
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Remove favas from their pods. Place fava beans, submerged in water, in a small saucepan on the stove. Simmer over medium heat for two minutes. Drain favas and rinse under cold water. When favas are cool, slip the beans out of their skins and reserve.

Place carrots and potatoes in a steamer basket in a medium saucepan and steam for 7 minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked through. Remove to a bowl.

Add favas to carrots and potatoes. Add spring onion, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Serves 4.

Wine Pairing

Serve with a glass of chilled Hanna Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc.