Another sign of spring here in Selçuk is the arrival of bakla on the market.  Bakla are broad beans but, this time of year, you don’t get big seeds in the pods.  The inside beans are tiny and tender and you eat the entire thing.  Like runner beans.  They are a very Aegean thing.  And wonderfully easy to cook to deliciousness.

This is how I do it:  Take half a kilo of bakla and remove the tops, tails and any dodgy-looking bits.  Break them in half or, if very long, three bits.  You don’t even really need a knife for this.  Then take a medium sized onion and cut it piyazlık (I nearly always cut onions this way for zeytinyağlı dishes, in thin, This-much-oillongitudinal half moonish strips).  And some garlic (depending how much you like) cut in thin slices or strips.  Put lots of good olive oil in a sauté or frying pan with a cover and warm it up before softening the onions, then the garlic.  Add in the bakla and stir it round for a bit.  About half cover it with water (I used a mugful), add a sugar cube and salt if you like it (I don’t).  Bring to the boil and, now for my secret ingredient…

The rinsed peel of about a quarter of a preserved lemon.  I’ve not found a place topreserved-lemons-1 buy them here and I’ve not really looked.  I make my own.  This is not traditional and certainly not essential.  Turn it all down to a simmer, cover it and leave it on a low light till well done.  30-40 minutes.  Longer doesn’t hurt as long as it doesn’t fall apart.  Towards the end, throw in some chopped dill.

As with all zeytinyağlı, it keeps well in the fridge and improves for the first couple of days.

Affiyet olsun.

10 responses to “Bakla

  1. I really missed this dish when I lived in the UK. It was difficult to find small broad bean pods.

    • Maybe it was living in London but we found it hard to get broad beans that didn’t need double podding to be edible. The best were the ones we got in our organic vegetable box. No need for that, the weekly markets are our vegetable boxes!

  2. Lovely Mediterranean dish…..

  3. I love broad beans, well I love all vegetables cooked this way in olive oil. My mouth is watering!

  4. . . one of the wonderful things here is having an abundence of stuff ‘in season’ and mostly from the village ladies/gents. Can’t imagine going back to supermarket veg shopping.

    • The supermarkets here have vegetables, though we can’t imagine why anyone would buy them. We have got to know some of our ‘regular’ stall holders well enough to wave when we see them away from their stalls. It’s good to worry about tractor miles rather than air miles (though we sometimes wonder whether we should be buying the kiwi fruit from Rize).

  5. The dish sounds delicious. In my mind broad beans are an Autumnal dish served with a Winter Savoury sauce…very Dutch. I never thought to pick the pods when the beans were small.

    • How do they keep them growing till autumn? I know in the UK they are an early summer thing and usually get taken out by blackfly before July. This year we got them starting in February (they were a bit later last year). I think they will be finished by June (though, after the first few weeks we will just be eating the beans without the pods). I have a recipe for the podded beans mixed with artichokes. This year, however, I think the artichokes might be over before the beans are ready to be podded.

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