Sunday, September 09, 2007

Soolaoad, alias salty broad beans, Estonian style

Broad beans, Estonian style. Simple, humble, rustic. All you need is fresh broad beans (Vicia faba L, still in pods) - in season just now, some large dill sprigs, water and salt. A perfect late summer dish again..

Beans and peas have been two of the staple ingredients in Estonian peasant diet, and considered almost as important as our other staple, rye bread. Whereas rye bread was usually accompaning every meal, then pea and bean dishes were served on their own. Beans were considered especially nutritious, and in their fresh form were cooked and eaten in pods. That's my preferred way of eating fresh broad beans, too. Broad beans, by the way, formed an important part of European diet until the 17th century, when they was pushed aside by the more elegant green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L), newly introduced potatoes and corn. So consider this dish as 'back to your roots' style of eating...

For a much more elegant version for eating broad beans, see Haalo's WHB entry. To see the same dish pictured elsewhere (I'm talking about the rustic Estonian version), see a post over at Clivia's Cuisine in Sweden.

Salty broad beans, Estonian style
(Keedetud põldoakaunad, lihtsal moel)

fresh broad beans (pods)
coarse salt
dill sprigs
sour cream, for serving

Wash the pods (topping & tailing them, if you prefer) and place into a large saucepan of water. Add dill sprigs and about 3-4 Tbsp of salt into the water (alias a lot more than you think you need, as the salt needs to permeate the pods).
Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the beans are tender.
Drain and serve either hot or cooled, sprinkling with extra salt, if you wish. You don't eat the pods (and you can also remove the skins of the beans, if you so wish, though that's not usually done in Estonia). The individual beans can be dipped into sour cream before eating.

WHB: This is also my entry to the Weekend Herb Blogging, this time hosted by Katie of Thyme for Cooking. Click on the logo below for more information about this established foodblogging event, and here to read Katie's round-up (44 entries!!!).


ScienceMel said...

Sometimes simplicity is best. Thanks for the idea. I love green beans this way (minus the sour cream). =)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Those beans look absolutely delicious. Often the simplest recipes are the best.

Kalyn Denny said...

Sigh, I've never tasted fresh fava beans even once. They do look a bit like edamame, is the flavor similar at all? I'm sure I would like them because I love every type of bean. Lovely close-up photo of the beans!

Clivia said...

the very best thing about this recipe, apart from being tasty, is the way you eat them - picking and plucking by the table and getting lots of time to talk with your co-eaters!

Katie Zeller said...

I didn't know you could cook them in the pod! What a wonderful (and old) idea!
I've just started eating them this year, and love them, but we don't see them at the market any longer here - May and June. Maybe they'll make a late summer return!

lobstersquad said...

I love that, broad beans like edamame, very interesting. I´m very lazy, usually get them straight from the jars bottled in la Rioja. we scramble them with eggs.

Anonymous said...

This looks like a great thing to snack on...reminded me of edamame too, which I love! :)

Pille said...

Sciencemel - sour cream is entirely optional :)

Lydia - I so agree!

Kalyn - thank you. I believe edamame beans are more delicately flavoured, but if you like fresh beans, then you'll love this dish. And an occasional overdose of salt won't harm anyone, will it?

Clivia - you're right. A bit like your famous Swedish crayfish eating parties :)

Katie - I guess they're 'in season' later here than in France - after all, we're on a much higher latitude here. But yes, this is the old and rustic way of cooking them, in pods..

Lobstersquad - if I with beans like these El Navarrico beans available, I'd be eating them straight from the can, too!

Joey - I've only had fresh edamame beans once, and cannot remember how similar or dissimilar they tasted. I believe broad beans have a somewhat bolder and rougher flavour compared to the delicate Japanese beans?