When we had guests staying with us last week, and more friends popped over, I found myself making big dinners for everyone and I loved doing it. The idea was to serve up lots of stuff with more stuff on the side (like I did on Taco Night) and the biggest hit of all was this dinner I made of chicken, hummus, Israeli salad, pita and–on the side–that bright green condiment known as schug. People couldn’t get enough of it including me.
It was basically a fusion of two restaurant experiences that I enjoy: the experience you have at Zankou Chicken when they give you a plate of chicken, hummus, pita bread and white sauce only I swapped the white sauce for the schug they give you at Hummus Place, my #1 lunch destination when I visit New York.
To start, follow my instructions for spatchcocked chicken with all the spices. They’ll come out looking like this.
Meanwhile, make your hummus. In a food processor add chickpeas, a big spoonful or two of tahini, 3 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, some lemon juice, cumin, and some of the chickpea liquid:
Whir that up and if it’s not fluffy and light add more chickpea cooking liquid until it is.
Then make your schug. In a blender, throw in 2 or 3 jalapeños stemmed and mostly seeded (though don’t be fanatic about it), a big bunch of cilantro, 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, salt, and lemon juice to taste. Blend that up.
As for the Israeli salad, chop up cherry tomatoes, red onion, a seeded cucumber and toss together with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and a generous amount of olive oil.
Finally, put pita bread on a cookie sheet (you can use the same cookie sheet you used to roast the spatchcocked chicken, run the pita through some of the juices for an extra thrill) and pop back into the 425 oven. Before you do, brush it with some olive oil and sprinkle with Za’atar.
When it’s nice and warm plate everything up and sprinkle the salad and the hummus with Za’atar too. Your guests will be so excited about the plate in front of them, they’ll want to photograph it too.
I think this dinner worked so well because it’s a good balance of meaty, protein-packed foods with lighter, salady stuff and then pita for a dose of carbs. Methinks I could eat this once a week for dinner and be very happy about it. Give it a try and see if you agree, using the word “methinks” at some point during the process.