Zomos (Herb Sauce over Butter Beans)

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Butter Beans in Herb Sauce


Put wheat groats, coriander, leeks, onion, dill, basil and a little aniseed into a mortar.  Boil on the stove and moisten with water, wine, garum and wine vinegar all mixed together.  When it has boiled and you are about to take it off the heat, sprinkle on some ground pepper.  Some people make it slightly sharp with wine vinegar by pouring over a little, and then remove it from the fire; but others boil everything when the wine vinegar has been added and by adding green herbs they make it ready to serve.

(Grant, pp. 131 from the Heidelberg Papyrus)


¼ C whole barley or wheat groats                     1 leek   1 onion

1 tsp dried dill, basil, coriander              1 pinch aniseed

½ C water                    1 C wine                      1 tsp garum

¼ tsp ground pepper    1 tsp parsley


The day before, place the 1 C dried butter beans in a pot of water and let sit over night.

cooked beans

Before making the sauce the next day, boil the beans for 30 minutes or until soft.  Drain and set to the side.

With the translation I did a little ad-libbing this into 2 parts.  One sauce is a dry sauce with the ingredients roughly chopped, the other is a cooked with the ingredients ground into a more liquid type of sauce

Slice the onions and leeks into small pieces.  (Optional part is to fry the onions and leeks till soft before adding to the boiling pot.)

Zomos spices 2

Mix the dill, basil, coriander and aniseed in a mortar.

sauted spices

Take the water, wine, garum and wine vinegar and mix in a pot, then bring to a boil.   Add the onions, leeks and barley.

sauted 2

Boil the mixture till the barley (or wheat groats are soft).  Sprinkle with parsley and serve over butter beans.

over beans 1

This is what the first redaction looked like when the onions were coarsely chopped and barely grains were added whole.

The 2nd redaction I ground the onions and spices and cooked in the wine but did not reduce the sauce until almost dry.

sauce over beans2

Both sauces are very tasty over the beans, yet the look is very different.  This may be more of an aesthetic for the cook on how to make the sauce!