Hummus

 

This recipe is probably has two big differences from most of the recipes you have tried. Together they make incomparable hummus, in my opinion.

First, you have to remove the outside layer from the chickpeas after they are cooked (or after you dump them out of the can and rinse them). This takes a while and is best performed while watching sporting events or chatting with a friend who’s also pinching chickpeas. I got the idea of pinching the outside layer off from Clifford Wright (A Mediterranean Feast, 1999). It takes time, but the hummus is much smoother than even ten minutes in the food processor can make it if that layer is included. Plus the flavor is subtly polished. (I admit it, though, I only do this for special occasions or small batches. Beware that organic garbanzos are often smaller, so require more bean-squeezing per pound….)

Second, instead of adding parsley (or not), this version uses a topping of toasted pine nuts and chopped mint. Lovely!

Make the hummus in the food processor. Also, I use canned garbanzos, but you can cook them from scratch if that’s your preference.

  • 2–3 cans garbanzos, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (I like more rather than less)
  • 1/2 to 3? garlic cloves (I like less rather than more)
  • 2–4 tbsp tahini (ground sesame paste)
  • 1/4 c olive oil (more or less)
  • fresh-ground black pepper (optional; I often omit)
  • salt to taste

Run the food processor until mixture is smooth. Dump onto serving platter and spread to make a relatively thin layer (say about a centimeter thick).

For topping, take a handful of pine nuts and toast them gently in a skillet. You have to watch the pan and stir to turn over the nuts as they will burn if you turn your back even once (well, almost). Set aside to cool. I usually do this before I start assemble the ingredients in the food processor.

Take a bunch of (spear)mint. Wash and drain. Pinch off leaves and pile them into a stack, then slice into narrow shreds. Cross-cut the pile once or twice to make the pieces shorter. Mix with the cooled pine nuts and spread across the top of the hummus on the platter. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, if you like.

The hummus is good with toasted pita wedges (easy to make in the oven), fresh pita, and even water crackers.

>>> Kyle*-style: instead of the mint/pine nuts topping, do a fine sprinkle of smoked sweet paprika along with the light drizzle of good olive oil. The smokiness is heavenly with the hummus.

* I came up with Kyle-style when Kyle and Rachel were here and I didn’t have any mint and wanted to get the dish on the table quickly.