Smashed Fava Beans with 'Red in Snow' Pickled Mustard Greens

Time2 hours 30 minutes
YieldsServes 8 to 12 as one of many dishes
Smashed Fava Beans with “Red in Snow” Pickled Mustard Greens
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
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This creamy mix of smashed fava beans laced with savory pickled greens takes less than 10 minutes to cook if you buy pickled mustard greens from a Chinese market (you’ll need about 1 cup). It’s easy enough to make your own too, but it adds to the prep time.

These pickles are called “red in snow” because that’s the literal translation of the poetic Chinese name for mustard greens. They’re among the first greens to sprout in early spring, their bright red buds rising through the last of winter’s snow.

The briny saltiness of those pickled greens pairs well with earthy fava beans, another early spring treat. But fresh favas are a pain to prepare and can be hard to find even in season. Chef Olivia Wu discovered that they’re sold frozen and already peeled in Chinese markets, as well as Middle Eastern ones, under the name “broad beans.” The product is the same and really tasty in this quick, simple side dish.

From the story: A mother and her son, both chefs, reunite for Lunar New Year


Smashed Fava Beans with “Red in Snow” Pickled Mustard Greens


Put the greens in a large nonreactive bowl. Sprinkle with salt and mix and squeeze with your hands in the bowl until the greens are softened and the bowl is filled with green juice. Press the greens into the juice and let stand for at least 2 hours at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.


Heat the oil in a wok or large, deep skillet over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, until the shallot is just translucent, about 30 seconds. Add three-quarters of the pickled greens and stir for 15 seconds, then add the fava beans and sugar. Stir for 30 seconds, then add the green juices from the bowl, reserving the remaining greens for serving.


Add ½ cup water to the wok and cook, stirring occasionally, until the favas are soft enough to mash with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and start mashing the favas with the spoon. As you coarsely smash the favas, they’ll soak up the water. You want the texture to remain like loose, chunky mashed potatoes, so add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the mixture starts to stiffen.


Transfer the favas to a serving dish and top with the reserved pickled greens. Serve hot.

Make Ahead: The dish can be made through step 3 up to 1 day ahead. Reheat before serving with the final garnish of the pickled greens.