You could be forgiven for thinking that sounds like a rather unusual combination of ingredients. Indeed I though the same thing myself when I first came across the recipe which inspired this post.
After my debut foray last week into trying out the recipes of Rick Bayless with the I Heart Cooking Clubs group, I was eager to give him another try and see if we could get a little better acquainted.
Our theme this week is "Green, Green, Green Is Everything I'm Wearing", and whilst most of my fellow bloggers in the group might have access right now to lots of lovely, exotic green things like tomatillos, jalapenos and cactus paddles, such is not the case here.
What to make? I spent a few hours trawling through Rick's website looking for something suitable, but almost every recipe I looked at required some ingredient I couldn't access. Now ordinarily that might not be such a big deal - after all, I can surely come up with a few substitutes - but, as it turned out, the thing that usually needed to be subbed out was the green thing. And seriously, you can't front up to the green themed party without the green thing, now can you.
And then, just as I was about to give up all hope, I went to the section on Rick's Season 8 recipes and his recipe for Green Olive Dressed Salad with Mussels & Fava Beans simply jumped out at me. After all, green olives I can do (I have jars full of them in my pantry); salad is one of my preferred meal options any time of year; broad beans (that's fava beans to many of you) - out of season here right now, but I have frozen ones on hand and they will do perfectly well; and as for mussels - not only are these plentiful and inexpensive here, but we have New Zealand green-lipped mussels - now, take that for green!
The original recipe called for simply steaming the mussels, then chilling them, removing them from their shells, and serving them on the broad bean salad. But I decided to go in a slightly different direction. For starters, I'm not that fussed on cold mussels, and what's more I have been wanting to share my recipe for Chilli-Lime Mussels with you for ages. So I decided to take Rick's green olive dressed broad bean salad (to which I also added some avocado) and to serve that as an accompaniment to the mussels. I knew the two would work well together, and the chilli lime seasonings added to the mussels echo those in the salad.
I halved the quantities for the salad dressing, since I was only cooking for one, and still ended up with way more dressing than I needed. Not that I'm sad about that - the dressing is fabulous and it will be finding it's way onto just about every meal for the next week!! I also, as I did with last week's recipe, included some lemon juice in the dressing, rather than just the lime juice that was called for, because the limes here are expensive and just don't render that much juice.
A word about chillies. The original recipe calls for poblano chillies, and no doubt where many of you live you may be able to buy chillies by variety. Here in New Zealand, however, we don't get a great deal of choice - the chillies we usually see are generally long and skinny, they come in red or green, and occasionally orange, and are usually not very hot.
On occasion we do seem to see other varieties of chillies, but they are not usually named, and available advice about them is generally very limited. Case in point: When I picked up my chillies for this dish at the supermarket yesterday, there were some I hadn't seen before in the chilli basket. They were smallish, roundish and actually quite hard and fleshy. They didn't have the kind of hollow, empty feel that a chilli usually has.
Wanting a bit more information, I found some hapless staff member who was replenishing the banana area and asked him if they were chillies. He confirmed that they were. "What are they like?" I asked. "Are they hot? Mild? Medium?" He smiled sheepishly and said he didn't know. "Well, is there someone here who does know?" I enquired. The reply ... beat this ... "Nope. Nobody knows. Perhaps you can buy one and try it, then you can tell us." I'm not kidding, that is exactly what he said. A timely reminder, if one were ever needed, that if you really want to know what you're eating and where your food comes from, then the supermarket is probably not the place to find it. So, if you can get poblano chillies then go for it - I used these long, skinny, red ones as that was what was available. If you can identify them, I'd love to know what they are, and even more so, I'd love to know what that little, round one is.
Broad Bean Salad with Green Olive Dressing Recipe
Serves 1 for a light meal or 2-3 as a side dish
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
For the dressing:
1x chilli (poblano if you can get it)
2x cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
flaky sea salt
For the salad:
1x cup broad (fava) beans, frozen (by all means use fresh if you can get them)
1x avocado, flesh cut into chunks
2x large handfuls of salad greens
(I used a mixture of baby cos and spinach)
Begin by making the dressing. Roast the chilli, either directly over a flame or under a hot grill, until blackened all over. Remove from heat and drop into a plastic bag. Close bag and set aside until the chilli is cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, put the garlic cloves into a small, dry skillet set over medium heat, and roast until the cloves have softened, and blackened in a few places. Remove and set aside to cool.
Put the lime juice, lemon juice and olive oil into a blender. Add half of the green olives, setting aside the rest for garnishing the salad later.
Remove chilli from plastic bag and rub off the blackened skin. Cut off the stem and cut the chilli in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and membrane. Roughly chop one half of the chilli and add it to the ingredients in the blender. Set the other half aside for garnishing the salad.
Slip the skins off the garlic cloves. Add to the blender along with a generous pinch of sea salt, and blend everything until smooth.
For the salad, bring a small pot of water to the boil, salt the water and then add the broad beans to the pot. Bring water back to the boil, allow to boil for 1 minute, then drain and immediately plunge beans into a bowl of ice water. Once they are cool enough to handle, slip the thick greyish skins off the beans and discard. Set the beans aside in a small bowl.
Put the salad leaves into another bowl and toss lightly with the dressing, then transfer to a serving bowl or platter. Scatter the broad beans and chunks of avocado over the top. Finely slice the remaining chilli and sprinkle over the salad, along with the remaining green olives. Finish with another drizzle of the dressing and serve immediately.
Chilli-Lime Mussels Recipe
Makes one very generous serving or
Serves 2 as an appetiser
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
18x green-lipped mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
2 tablespoons olive oil
2x cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chilli jam
1x kaffir lime leaf or grated zest of 1x lime
1/2 cup white wine
fresh coriander leaves
First make sure that all your mussels are still "alive". Before cooking, all of your mussels should be tightly shut. If there are any that are open, give them a sharp tap on the side of the sink (or bowl) - if they're healthy they should close up. If they stay open, discard them immediately. Similarly, once cooked, if there are any mussels that remain closed, they too should be discarded.
Heat olive oil in a large pan (I use a large skillet which has a lid) over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and as soon as it becomes fragrant add the chilli jam, lime leaf or zest, and white wine. As soon as the wine begins to boil, add the mussels and cover. Cook until the mussels have opened, shaking the pan from time to time - this will only take about 5 minutes.
As soon as the mussels have opened, remove to a serving bowl, pour over a few spoonfuls of the broth, and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
If you would like to get to know Rick a little better, then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all cooked up ...
I'm also sharing this post this week with a couple of lovely friends ... Deb at Kahakai Kitchen, hosting Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays and Michelle at Ms. enPlace, hosting See Ya In the Gumbo.