Sunday, August 17, 2008


In Malta, I tasted a delicious bean dip that is called bigilla. We had it every morning, slathered on fresh baked bread, with sausages and assorted sheep's milk cheeses. Bigilla is traditionally made with dried broad beans, but there are variations of the dip that use fresh fava beans. It's a staple in Maltese country cooking, but in recent years has made a comeback in mainstream and contemporary Maltese cuisine.

In trying to keep with authenticity, be sure to use plenty of fresh garlic, good olive oil, and the dried mint.

Try this as a dip with raw veggies, or a spread for sandwiches and wraps.

Bigilla (Maltese Bean Dip)
yields 1 cup

1 cup dried broad beans
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
dried marjoram, mint, and parsley (mixture)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Soak the broad beans in cold water overnight. The following morning, cover the beans with salted water in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until beans are tender, about 1 to 1.5 hours.
Drain, and remove as much of the skins as possible.

2. Coarsely mash the beans, and stir in the remaining ingredients. Serve with bread or crackers.

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