Summer Vegetable Salad with Peas and Beans, Cornbread, and Herbs

Adapted by
July 2013
Yield: 4 servings


Peas and Beans
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces fat back, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 large stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh butter beans
1 cup fresh black peas
1 cup fresh crowder peas
2 cloves garlic, smashed (skin-on)
2 quarts of water
1 sachet consisting of 5 sprigs thyme and 2 fresh bay leaves
8 ounces butter, diced
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Juice of 2 lemons
black pepper
“Allium Bean” Dressing
1 leek
1 green garlic bulb with top
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce grated pecorino
Juice of 1 lemons
black pepper
Herb Vinaigrette
1½ cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried lemon thyme
1 teaspoon dried African blue basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon aleppo pepper
4 cups yellow cornmeal
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 cups buttermilk
½ cup lard (rendered but not hot)
Vegetables and Herbs
10 to 12 different farmers market vegetables (1 to 2 of each type, depending on size)
6 to 8 different farmers market herbs


For the Peas and Beans:
In a heavy 4-quart pot, heat oil and fat back until fat renders, about 1 minute. Add mirepoix and sweat five to seven minutes. Add beans and peas followed by garlic and water. Drop in sachet. Bring to simmer and cook 40 to 50 minutes, until peas and beans have creamy centers but still hold shape. Drain, reserve potlikker for another purpose, and discard garlic and sachet. Transfer peas and beans to bowl, add butter, hot sauce, and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Check seasoning and make adjustments, if necessary. Reserve.

For the “Allium Bean” Dressing:
Prepare and heat grill. Separate tops from bulbs of leek, scallion, and green garlic. Slice tops and bulbs in half lengthwise, season with salt and pepper, toss in olive oil, transfer to grill, and lightly char on both sides until tender; reserve bulbs for plating. Coarsely chop tops, transfer to food processor, and blend on low speed. Gradually add Pecorino. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until mixture is a loose paste, such as a pesto. Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss enough “Allium Bean” Dressing with the Peas and Beans to coat. Cover and set aside at room temperature.

For the Herb Vinaigrette:
In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients until combined. Let infuse at least 1 hour at room temperature.  

For the Cornbread:
Preheat oven to 400°F and heat seasoned cast iron skillet. Mix together dry ingredients. Stir in eggs, buttermilk, and half the lard. Remove skillet from oven and swirl remaining lard around to coat. Add batter and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. (Use a cake tester to make sure Cornbread is done in center.) Pop bread out of skillet and let cool on rack.

For the Vegetables and Herbs:
Wash and peel all vegetables. Choose any 3 root vegetables or vegetables that will peel well and cut into ribbons with peeler. Chop remaining vegetables into bite-size pieces.

To Assemble and Serve:
Place large spoonful dressed Peas and Beans on center of serving plate. Tear Cornbread into bite-size pieces and arrange around beans as with croutons. (Cornbread may still be warm inside.) Toss Vegetables and Herbs in Herb Vinaigrette and stack Vegetables on beans as if they’re growing out of them. Top with herbs and scatter around plate. Separate reserved charred onion and garlic bulbs into petals or thinly slice and arrange around sides of salad. Drizzle with olive oil.