Hummus is a great party food. It’s got a lovely, smooth texture and great flavor from the tahini, garlic, lemon, and smoked paprika. It’s perfect any time of the year and is usually liked by all!
Recently I’ve been seeing some recipes that recommend peeling the chickpeas to make a very smooth hummus. After much experimentation, I find this a needless and tedious task. Simply let the food processor run a little longer and you achieve that same silken texture without the bother of peeling each individual chickpea.
Hummus is perfect for a crudité platter or serve with toasted pita chips or mini pita cut in half. It also makes a great sandwich stuffed into a pita with some chopped parsley.
Place the chickpeas, tahini, lemon zest and juice, oil, garlic, salt, and smoked paprika in a food processor and purée until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.
Once you think it’s perfectly smooth, scrape the sides again and puree for another 5 seconds.
Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and dash of smoked paprika.
Riverbank Farm, a vendor at the Westport Farmers’ Market, makes delicious dips and spreads, including a scallion parsley humus. Their version is quite lemony and includes garlic. The first time I made the recipe I left out the garlic because we had a couple of guests don’t tolerate it. I used 2 tablespoons lemon juice, more subtle than their version. I really liked it without the garlic and less lemon juice; the scallions are more prominent.
The nice thing about humus is this simple chickpea puree can be dressed up in so many ways. The tahini and just a little cumin provide that familiar underlying humus flavor, and the scallions and parsley give it a new spin.
Make at least four hours in advance or overnight before serving to let the flavors meld. Serve with raw veggies or slices of pita bread. This makes a great pita sandwich, too!
1 can (16 ounces) garbanzo beans, drain but don’t rinse
1/4 cup tahini
4 scallions coarsely chopped
¼ cup tightly packed parsley
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Garnish: a little drizzle of olive oil with a little chopped parsley and/or thin slices of scallion.
Place the beans, tahini, scallions, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, cumin and cayenne in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and puree until very smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
Place in a serving bowl and garnish with a drizzle of the oil, chopped parsley and/or sliced scallion.
Four Bean Salad is a standard summer dish from my childhood. It’s typically made with three beans, canned green and wax beans and kidney beans, I add chickpeas to make that fourth bean. I also like to make this when the fresh beans are available in the summer. So nice to have that fresh flavor and a little texture in the green and wax beens from a quick blanch.
To start, bring a large saucepot filled with cold water and a heaping tablespoon of Kosher salt to a boil. Trim and halve the beans.
Plunge the beans into the boiling water and cook for three minutes. Remove the beans with a long-handled mesh strainer and plunge them into an ice bath. The beans retain a bit of a crunch, which makes for a nice texture in the salad.
Drain and thoroughly rinse a can each of kidney beans and chickpeas. Drain the string beans. The beans are a bit moist and the excess water dilutes the vinaigrette; place some paper towels in the bottom of a two-quart serving bowl and dump in the string beans. Add some paper towel and cover with the kidney beans and chickpeas. It’s only water on the beans, the towels can be dried and repurposed.
Slice the onion lengthwise into thin strips. If it’s a strong onion, don’t worry, the vinaigrette mellows the onion nicely.
Whisk together the vinegar, oil, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper.
Remove the paper towels leaving the beans in the bowl, add the onion and toss with the vinaigrette.
Refrigerate for at least two hours, occasionally tossing to marinate all the beans. The salad can be made a day in advance, even though the dressing is slightly acidic it won’t turn the green beans that awful gray-green color.
This is a great side dish, but don’t hesitate to have a bowlful for lunch!