As we pass the halfway point in the month of wining and dining excesses (which shall heretofore be referred to as “the holidays), I thought it would be nice to take a little break and enjoy a little hummus. Time to step away from the peppermint bark, the fudge and fruitcake, eggnog lattes and gingerbread martinis. Besides who doesn’t love hummus? Especially THIS hummus!This is a recipe I perfected long before hummus and pita chips became mass produced and ultimately, ubiquitous. Back in my personal chef days, I was a virtual one-woman assembly line, quadrupling this recipe and cranking out homemade pita chips like no one’s business. So popular was my hummus that upon introducing myself to another mom at a little league game, she exclaimed “Your name sounds so familiar. You…you make something don’t you?” I asked her if she was referring to hummus and she replied with an enthusiastic “YES!!! Yes, you’re the hummus person!”
I guess there are worst things to be famous for, right?
I have been asked what makes my hummus so good. The parsley infused oil and toasted pine nuts are an obvious. They make it pretty. Different. But beyond the obvious, there are a few pointers that I can offer from my vast experience of hummus-making:
- Use fresh ingredientsI know this tip sounds beyond obvious, but it deserves mention as we’re often tempted to cut corners. With this recipe, “fresh” means real lemons (not bottled lemon juice, fresh garlic (not from a jar), good quality olive oil, etc.
- Smash that garlic! This will bring out the full essence of the garlic and, it is kind of fun watching your going from this:
- Last but not least, process it WELL. Just when you think it’s smooth enough, process it some more. Not creamy enough? Add a little extra water. Not zingy enough? Add a little extra lemon juice. Not rich enough? Add some extra olive oil. Process, taste, then process some more. Your goal is a perfectly smooth, perfectly balanced final product:
Everything here can be prepped well in advance then assembled at the last minute, making it perfect for holiday parties and gatherings. And someday you too can join Hummus “royalty.”
Hummus with Parsley Infused Oil and Pine Nuts
- 4 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 1-lb. 3 oz. cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
- 2/3 cup well stirred tahini* (See Note>)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- 1/2 cup olive oil, or to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 2 Tbs. pine nuts
On a cutting board mince and mash the garlic and salt to a paste using a chef knife. In a food processor, puree the chick peas with the garlic paste, tahini, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the oil, and 1/2 cup water, scraping down the sides, until the hummus is smooth. Add salt to taste. Add additional water, olive oil and/or lemon juice, if necessary, to thin the hummus to desired consistency. Transfer to a bowl.
In the food processor, cleaned, puree the remaining 1/4 cup oil with the parsley until the oil is bright green and the parsley is minced; transfer the oil to a small jar. Or alternatively, mince the fresh parsley on a cutting board. Add to the oil to combine.
Toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until fragrant and lightly browned (keep a close eye on the pine nuts as they can go from lightly browned to burned in a matter of minutes!)
Hummus, oil and pine nuts can be made 3 days in advance. Cover and chill hummus and oil. Cover nuts and keep at room temperature.
To serve, let dip and oil come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). Place dip in a shallow serving dish. Drizzle with parsley oil and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. Serve with Toasted Pita Thins, fresh veggies or tortilla chips.
Yield> About 4 cups of hummus
Note> Tahini, or sesame seed paste, is a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It is often located in the ethnic section of most grocery stores, although sometimes locating it can be tricky. Sometimes I’ve located it in the same aisle as peanut butter! It will separate in the jar, so be sure to give it a good stir before adding to the hummus. You can store an open jar of hummus in your fridge for several weeks.