Preserved Lemon Hummus

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This recipe appeared last week in an article by Joan Nathan called, "Dip of Nations" in Tablet -A New Read on Jewish Life. The article is a must read if you want to be an enlightened hummus haunter and let me tell you, there is a lot to learn about hummus as it's been an actual recipe for 3,400 years.

Plus, I just love Joan Nathan and her "every dish has a story" approach to cookbook writing. I can't wait to meet her at the Smithsonian Arts and Crafts Show's "Food as Craft" panel discussion in a couple weeks.

This recipe is not your average hummus. It uses preserved lemons and fresh lemon juice which makes for a "can't quite put your finger on it" depth that sets it apart from anything you'd find in your grocery store aisles. Here's a recipe for Preserved Lemons that I did in the Canning and Preserving Series. It's not going to help you out if you want to make the recipe right now as it takes at least a month for that just right result. You can always find them at a Middle Eastern market and get the big jar because there are so many ways to use these and you'll probably fall in love with them in this dish. So....here's the recipe direct from the article. My notes are in parenthesis. As you can see in the picture up top, I served it with fresh veggies; celery, orange bell pepper, romaine leaves, pickled turnips and some of the Mediterranean crackers from Firehook Bakery that you can find under our Bakery section in your Washington's Green Grocer ordering dashboard. The perfect lunch.

HUMMUS WITH PRESERVED LEMONS

Adapted from Joan's book Foods of Israel Today

1 cup dried chickpeas (I used canned but I'm on the hunt for the dried Middle Eastern ones Joan mentions in the article..enough to put on our list for ordering!)
1 cup tahini
1 preserved lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice, or to taste, including (more for me...I like it lemony)
2 cloves garlic, or to taste
teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts (I didn't have any on hand so I used toasted almonds, chopped)
Dash of paprika or sumac (I used sumac because I'm infatuated with it)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Put the raw chickpeas in a bowl with cold water to cover and soak overnight.

2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then place them in a heavy pot with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, skim off the scum that accumulates, then simmer, partially covered, for about an hour or until the chickpeas are soft and the skin begins to separate, adding more water if needed.

3. Drain the chickpeas, reserving about 1 cups of the cooking liquid. Set aside cup of the cooked chickpeas for garnish. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the remaining chickpeas with the tahina, preserved lemon, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and at least cup of the reserved cooking liquid. If the hummus is too thick, add more reserved cooking liquid or water until you have a paste-like consistency.

4. Heat a frying pan and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spread the pine nuts in the pan and stir-fry, browning on all sides.

5. To serve, transfer the hummus to a large, flat plate, and with the back of a spoon make a slight depression in the center. Drizzle the remaining olive oil and sprinkle the reserved chickpeas, pine nuts, paprika or sumac, and parsley or cilantro over the surface.

Serve with cut-up raw vegetables and warm pita cut into wedges.

Note: You can also add cayenne pepper to the hummus. Sometimes leftover hummus tends to thicken; just add some water to make it the right consistency.

Yield: About 4 cups, or 6 to 8 servings