We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hummus Reincarnated: So Smooth It's Like Mousse

by Michelle

"Of all the things that I love the most about preparing food and experimenting with recipes is that over time, if one is patient and willing, one can, on any given day, create a brand new dish. Something that you might previously have thought to be not that exciting or commonplace, can with a twist or a new technique, reveal itself to be a delicious new star in your everyday repertoire. Such is the discovery that I made about hummus during Michelle's recent visit. Without a doubt, this is a recipe with a special attention to detail, which makes all the difference. It will help you make the best hummus you have ever eaten."   ~Linda

   I can just imagine what my friends, or even worse, what my sister, Juliette will have to say about this post. "Just for clarification...  once again, you did what with a chickpea?" As Katy Perry might riff on herself, "I pinched a chickpea and I liked it." A simple pinch between my thumb and forefinger was all it took to pop each individual bean from its skin. Tedious work? A little, but not difficult. The results are worth the effort if you like hummus silky smooth like I do. This is an amiable chore when you have kitchen companionship - four hands make quick the work of two. Or, switch to the alternate mood zone, and listen to an audiobook while you make light of a repetitious job.

The garbanzo skins will amount to more than you imagined. 
   I like to give credit where credit is due. I saw the technique for removing the chickpea's skin over over at the Smitten Kitchen. However, the necessary step of adding ice water for a super silky texture was gleaned from cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, which I highly recommend that you add to your cookbook collection. It's a fascinating read, the photos are gorgeous and it makes me want to put on an apron and cook.

   The trick here is to not add too much garlic especially if the hummus will sit overnight. The garlic flavor builds as the hummus ages. I've learned this lesson the hard way through experience. The flavor of the hummus is not weighed down by incorporating olive oil in the purée. Instead, we prefer to use a flavorful olive oil as a garnish drizzled over the prepared hummus. We also like to hold back a few whole chickpeas to scatter over the final preparation. A sprinkling of aleppo chili is nice along with a shower of minced flat leaf parsley and perhaps a few fresh grinds of black pepper.

Hummus: Extra Smooth and Creamy

1-1/4 cups dried chickpeas = approximately 3-2/3 cups cooked
1 tsp baking soda
6-1/2 cups water
2 cans prepared chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), skins removed and liquid discarded
1/2 cup Tahini paste, stir the paste until all the liquid is emulsified, and then measure
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled (Linda loves garlic but likes just 1 in this recipe)
6 to 8 Tbsps ice-cold water
about 1 to 1-1/2 tsps sea salt to taste
4-5 dashes Tabasco

whole chickpeas
olive oil
freshly minced flat leaf parsley
lightly toasted pine nuts
a sprinkling of sweet paprika

Serve with:
flat breads
pita chips
prepared fresh vegetables

1. The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
2. The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook between 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.

3. Whether fresh or canned, drain the chickpeas and remove and discard skins. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, with the machine running, drop the cloves of garlic through the feed tube to mince the garlic. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine still running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon teaspoon salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste. (I turned off the machine every so often to check the consistency.) I was surprised by the amount of water I added, so keep adding water until the hummus has a mousse-like consistency.
4. Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes to develop the flavors. If not using right away, refrigerate until needed. Remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.
5. To serve, take a spoon and make a decorative swirling pattern on the surface of the hummus. Scatter the reserved whole chickpeas, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with aleppo pepper and minced parsley. Serve with flatbreads, pita chips or prepped veggies.

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