Earlier this year, I came into a small stash of Persian barberries, thanks to a friend who cooks Persian food frequently for her Persian husband. No doubt like many of you, I had A) never heard of barberries before and B) knew not what to do with them. But when life gives you barberries… well, at least you get to attempt a barberry joke.
So imagine my delight when I open up my favorite new cookbook, Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, to a recipe for fava bean kuku that not only used barberries, but also used a bunch of random stuff I also had in the house: fresh fava beans, saffron, cream, eggs, onions. In fact, the only things I had to buy were fresh mint and fresh dill. Kuku is sort of a Persian omelette. It also gave me an opportunity to break in my brand new cast iron skillet!
I am actually not a big fan of eggs, but here, eggs almost act as a binding agent for all the other good stuff in there. So I soaked the barberries in warm sugar water, steeped the saffron in the cream, and shelled (and boiled) the favas to prepare them. From there, the prep was pretty simple. I started out cooking the aromatics…
You then set that aside and mix the eggs with the herbs, cream, flour, baking powder, and seasoning.
Then just add it all together – the barberries, the favas, the onions.
Baked up, it looks like so:
Just slice and serve, baby. The favas give it creaminess and heft, the herbs give it punch, and the barberries add a tang. (In fact, I might have used even more of them!) The Gentleman was a big fan.
I can’t share the recipe, but I highly recommend you purchase the book. There’s even an internet group – which I am keen to join! – who have come together to cook the book. This is my first Jerusalem post, but it won’t be my last. I’ve already made quite a few recipes from the book. Stay tuned!