Plums, broad beans, and hazelnuts. Seasonal Caesar salad

I remember last summer, my first weeks after moving to Berlin. I had friends from Poland coming to visit, well equipped with forest berries, pickling cucumbers ready to be pickled, and but most importantly fresh broad beans (BÓB). Although seasonal German vegetables and fruit don’t differ significantly from those from Poland, their popularity and a significant difference in culinary trends are noticeable. In the capital of Germany, bunches of new beetroot with leaves and big bunches of dill are certainly not as popular as they are in Poland, customers are not leaving grocery stores carrying bags full of green or yellow long beans and pickles-fermentation kits (pickling cucumbers are also a rarity here!). Anyway, broad beans were the most valuable for me… They are the best eaten simply cooked, with salt, just like edamame – but Polish style. Going back to the last year, I remember when I served my guests those amazing salads starring cooked broad beans. It was then I discovered how wonderfully roasted hazelnuts go together with broad beans.

This year I’m well prepared and I have made sure I have plenty of Polish broad beans in my freezer, and remembering my salad experiments, I’m presenting a recipe for a Caesar style, summer salad with broad beans, hazelnuts and plums.

A few words about substitutes in this recipe:

– Take the recipe as an inspiration. The ingredients can be changed a bit, but I would not give up the fresh cucumber and roasted hazelnuts. Hazelnuts have such a distinctive, full and nutty aroma that cannot be replaced with other nuts (by the way, are there any more delicious nuts?)

– As for the broad beans: if you don’t have them, or the season is over, use cooked chickpeas or white beans. Of course – edamame will also be delicious! But if you have any Polish friends visiting you soon: ask them to get you some BÓB (or find them in a nearby Polish store)

– As for the dressing, the tahini can be skipped too. Just add more olive oil and shake the sauce well in the jar. Any vegan mayonnaise, enriched with some mustard, lemon and sweet syrup will also work well here.

Two really big portions of salad (or several smaller ones if it’s a side dish)

  • 250g (half a package) of broad beans [or cooked white beans, chickpeas or edamame]
  • 2 handfuls of hazelnuts
  • 1/2 of long cucumber
  • 3 ripe plums
  • 1/2 of red onion
  • 1 larger or 2 smaller romaine lettuces

  • Optionally, I recommend: croutons (try rubbing them with a clove of garlic); a few capers; cherry tomatoes.

Mustard dressing with tahini

  • 2 tbsps of tahini
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 ts of sweet syrup, e.g. agave or rice syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper

1. Boil the broad beans for 7-10 minutes. Prepare a bowl of cold water. You will need to put the broad beans into cold water after draining. This way you will stop the cooking process – the colour, flavour and texture of the broad beans will be much better.

2. Roast the hazelnuts in a pan for about 4-5 minutes, until they are lightly browned and the kitchen is full of appetising nuts aroma. You can also use a preheated oven for roasting.

3. Peel the broad beans and nuts from the skins. Try not to eat half of the ingredients while peeling.

4. Wash and dry the cucumber, plums and lettuce. Peel the onion and cut it into thin strips.

5. Cut the cucumber into slices, the plums into quarters, tear the lettuce into smaller pieces.

6. Prepare the dressing – you can use the jar for mixing. Mix tahini with lemon juice until thick. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix well again. Try the dressing – if you think it should be sweeter, more sour or salty, you can season to taste.

7. Arrange the salad ingredients on a large plate, starting with the lettuce leaves.

8. Add the dressing immediately before serving – if you intend to eat the salad later or pack it in a lunchbox, the best is to have the jar with the dressing prepared separately. Before serving, season the salad with a good pinch of salt and pepper.