I do love a good truffle. No, I'm not talking about the chocolatey kind; although they are nice, nothing is as seductive as the heady-scent of earthy, umami tasting white and black truffles. Although white truffles are the more prized (and therefore more expensive) of the two, call me ghetto, but I love black truffles.
I first discovered 'Mister Truffle' on Twitter (@MisterTruffle) a few months back and so when my fabulous Spring truffle arrived, I wanted to do something special with it. It's easy to pair truffles with European food but fusing it with Persian food, is an entirely different affair. Persian food is rich in tomatoey-ness and also acidity from lemon juice... these just happen to be two things that are pretty unpleasant when combined with truffles. So what to do? Then it hit me! There is an incredibly delicious broad bean dish hailing from the northern provinces of Mazandaran and Gilan, by the Caspian Sea, that would work brilliantly with truffles!
Baghala Ghatogh (Baghala or Baghali, meaning broad bean) is a dish usually eaten as a side dish, but in today's society starter, side or mains are all perfectly acceptable too. The dish is HEAVY in garlic but for some reason doesn't feel overpowering. Scrimping on the garlic and the dill is a big mistake as the whole crux of the dish is based on these two flavours combines with the beans and topped (rather regally) with a cracked egg. I chose a fried egg on this occasion, but the tradition is to crack on egg on the finished bean mixture whilst in the pan, let it cook through and serve it straight away. Either way, it is still a stand-out dish for me and one of my favourite dishes from my childhood.
'Baghala Ghatogh' - Persian Broad Beans with Garlic, Dill & Truffles
1 kg of frozen broad beans (available from M&S, Sainsburys & Middle Eastern supermarkets), shelled with all skin removed
4 large free range eggs
1 whole bulb of garlic, cloves bashed then sliced
3 small packets of fresh dill, finely chopped
3 teaspoons of turmeric powder
2 generous pinches of saffron (Persian saffron is the most superior in the world)
Knob of butter
Maldon Sea Salt
30g of black or white truffle (entirely your preference)
This is a one-pan dish, so preheat a large cooking pot over a medium heat (lower if using gas!) and add a drizzle of olive oil and lightly sweat the garlic down, cooking it til it becomes slightly translucent and cooked through. If it begins to brown too quickly, remove from heart, turning heat down and return a few minutes later. Then add your shelled broad beans and turn the heat up just a little and stir well.
Add your turmeric, saffron and several generous teaspoons of Maldon sea salt, crushed and lastly add your chopped dill. Mix all the ingredients well together to incorporate the spices and allow the beans to cook just a little more, almost til they change from bright grassy green, to a slightly duller green. This is when they are cooked properly; the process should take about 10 minutes after adding your spices and lastly grate or shave your truffle into the mixture and stir welll. Once you reach this stage, crack 4 free range eggs onto different areas in the pan and simply allow them to cook through, using the heat from the beans. This will take no more than 5 or so minutes. Serves immediately, with some bread (Persian flatbread or Tortilla wraps are nice and thin and therefore ideal) and enjoy!