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Black-Eyed Bean Salad

By: 
Stella Cohen
black-eyed bean salad
Photo: Marc Hoberman
Photo: Marc Hoberman

While still hot, black-eyed beans are doused in vinaigrette topped with chopped hard-boiled eggs. On the island of Rhodes and in Egypt, the Sephardic custom was to serve black-eyed beans for the Sabbath and New Year, representing new life and abundance.

The combination of textures and flavours makes this a delicious and substantial salad that can be served alongside grilled meat, chicken or fish, or even as part of a meze.

Ingredients: 
BEANS:
1 cup (175g/6oz) dried black-eyed beans, soaked for 2 hours in cold water to cover, drained and rinsed
1 whole small onion, peeled
2 dried bay leaves
1 carrot, cut into chunks
sea salt
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DRESSING:
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
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SALAD:
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced lengthways
3 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley (use leaves and tender stems)
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh dill
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GARNISH:
2 hard-boiled eggs
A handful pitted oil-cured black olives
6 bottled or canned anchovy fillets
Directions: 
  • Cook the beans: Put the beans in a large pan with enough cold water to cover by 2.5cm (1in). Add the onion, bay leaves and carrot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for about 1¼ hours or until the beans are soft to the bite but not mushy. Check frequently as they cook, adding more boiling water as necessary. Add the salt in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Meanwhile whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • When the beans are cooked, drain well and discard the onion, bay leaves and carrot. While the beans are still warm, tip into a serving bowl with the sliced onion, parsley and dill.
  • Pour the dressing immediately over the beans to absorb the flavours. Toss well to combine.
  • Just before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with finely chopped or quartered eggs, pitted olives and anchovy fillets and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Stella’s Sephardic Table: Jewish family recipes from the Mediterranean island of Rhodes © 2012 by Stella Cohen, The Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection. Photography by Marc Hoberman.

Sephardic cuisine expert, artist, textile designer, and cookery writer, Stella Cohen is a passionate ambassador for the Jewish community, dedicating her life to the celebration, preservation, and education of Sephardic values and traditions. Stella’s heart lies in Southern Africa as well as in the Mediterranean, as she was born and raised in Zimbabwe and has a family tree entrenched in Sephardic history. Her parents originate from Rhodes, Greece, and Marmaris, Turkey and she is the great-granddaughter of Yaacov Capouya, the Rabbi of Rhodes.

Tina's Tidbits: 

Stella’s Hints

  • You can substitute a 450g (16oz) can of black-eyed beans drained and rinsed, or any canned legume of your choice, instead of dried beans. Warm the canned beans in their liquid, drain and then pour in the prepared dressing to better absorb the flavours.

Twist on Tradition

  • You can add 1/2 cup chopped pickled cucumbers and 2 diced ripe plum tomatoes. Toss in just before serving.