New Bigilla Broad Bean Dip – Julia Busuttil Nishimura – Dani Valent

New Bigilla Broad Bean Dip – Julia Busuttil Nishimura

A dip that says spring in bright green

This delightful recipe is from Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s book, A Year of Simple Family Food.

We made this dish as part of my Cooks and Chefs Series event in September and everyone loved it, especially me!

This is what Julia says:

Bigilla is a Maltese dip made with dried broad beans and lots of garlic. We used to dry our own broad beans when I was younger, as they weren’t readily available and we needed to ensure we had a good supply until the following spring. I wanted to recreate the dip but using fresh broad beans, which are around for such a short time. You often need to double pod broad beans – first removing them from the outer pod where they rest and then peeling the fibrous skin – leaving just the vibrant green and tender beans. Here, however, there is no need to double pod. Simply remove them from the pod, blanch and blitz. The skin gives necessary texture and structure to this dip, which I like to serve on crostini with ricotta.

Julia doesn’t use a Thermomix but I’ve added a Thermo method below.

Serves: 6-8 as a snack
Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Baguette

  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 150 grams (5.3 oz)  fresh full-fat ricotta

New Bigilla

  • 1 kg (35 oz) broad beans, podded (you’ll end up with about 400 grams / 14 oz beans)
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • handful of parsley, leaves picked
  • handful of mint, leaves picked
  • 60-100 grams (2 oz – 3.5 oz) extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt

Method

Baguette

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). Line two baking trays with baking paper.

2. Arrange the baguette slices on a tray and drizzle a little olive oil over each slice. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and bake for 8–10 minutes, or until golden. Set aside to cool.

New Bigilla

3. Blanch the podded broad beans in a saucepan of boiling water for 3–4 minutes until tender. How much time they need will depend on their size – young ones will take not much time at all. Drain and refresh in cold water.

4. Place the beans in a small food processor or Thermomix mixing bowl, along with the garlic, lemon and herbs. Process for 2 minutes until fairly smooth. (In a Thermomix it won’t take as long: 15 sec/speed 8 should do it, then scrape down and repeat if necessary to achieve a fairly smooth consistency.)

5. Stream in enough olive oil to create a smooth, spoonable dip. (In a Thermomix, mix on speed 4, slowly adding olive oil.) Season to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

6. Spread the baguette pieces with the broad bean dip and top with some ricotta. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Tips

  • When broad beans are out of season, you could use soaked, cooked dried ones as Julia had when she was little. You can also use tinned chickpeas or white beans.
  • If you prefer, you can remove thicker broad bean skins ie. double pod.
  • This is great picnic fare: box up baguette slices, ricotta and bigilla and assemble at your destination.
  • See heaps more Condiments & Dips here.
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