Chopped Cabbage Salad With Toasted Fava Bean Dressing
Back when I was anticipating our arrival to Midtown, I began to realize the importance of lunch in this neighborhood.
Lunch comes with different emotions than dinner. I think we perceive dinner as indulgent and a way to mark the close of the day. Lunch, however, is meant to nourish and leave the brain feeling alert and motivated to head back to work.
After considering all of this, I realized our Midtown menu needed a salad. This isn’t that big of a deal except for the fact that most chefs do not find salads all that inspiring to conceptualize. Rather than having a negative view towards something our people want and creating a lose/lose situation, we chose to view it as a creative challenge.
This salad came together from two points of inspiration that ultimately combined into one. The first are toasted fava beans, something that you often find as a snack in Mexico. These are not the green fava beans we are used to eating fresh in Spring. They are fully mature, yellow, toasty and seasoned with plenty of salt and chile powder. They are also crunchy and addictive. The second inspiration came from all this talk about vegan mayonnaise being made from chickpea cooking liquid (aquafaba). We decided to experiment and see if the cooking liquid from dried fava beans would have the same natural emulsifying properties. Sure enough, it did.
So here we take the cooking liquid from dried favas and flavor it with a bit of roasted garlic and nutritional yeast. We then emulsify some olive oil into it to make a creamy dressing. We use this to dress a mixture of different finely chopped brassicas. That toasted fava bean snack I mentioned is ground to a powder and mixed in with as well.
-Chef Alex Stupak
Available at Empellón (510 Madison Ave.)
Photo by Evan Sung