One thing that I like about cooking is that even if think you know a recipe, there’s always a better version lurking around the corner. It’s always possible to make something better. So, for example, homemade hummus: I’ve been making it for a while. Generally, I just strain a can of chickpeas (reserving the liquid), toss it into a food processor with some garlic, some tahini, some lemon juice, a splash of olive oil, salt and a little of that liquid. Whir it up and I’ve got hummus. I’m usually pretty happy with the results.
Recently, though, I was thumbing through an under-celebrated cookbook, Staffmeals by David Watluck. This is one of my favorite all-purpose cookbooks; all of the recipes work well (it’s kind of my Joy of Cooking)…it’s got everything from biscuits to roast chicken to chocolate cake.
The recipe for hummus is very straightforward, but it’s all about the proportions. Watluck reserves the chickpea liquid too but instead of just using a little of it, he uses lots of it (1/2 a cup to 1 can of chickpeas). There’s also 1/2 cup of tahini. That’s a big amount of chickpea liquid and tahini.
(I doubled the recipe so there’s a lot more stuff in my food processor in this picture. Also, it’s missing the herbs Watluck recommends for “Herbed Summer Hummus.” Here’s what goes into his food processor: 1 can chickpeas drained, 1/2 cup of the chickpea liquid, 1/2 cup tahini, juice of 1 lemon, 4 to 5 cloves garlic (peeled), 1 bunch fresh chives, 1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves, and a pinch of salt.) Even without the herbs, the resulting hummus is incredibly light and fluffy.
All it took was a change of proportions and my hummus was no longer dense. This is my new go-to hummus.
But that wasn’t enough for serving it up. I didn’t want to do vegetables because, blah, this isn’t a spa retreat. So I took some pita bread and I fried it up.
I’ve done this before (see here) and it’s so easy and yields such big results, I can’t believe more people don’t know about this. Just pour vegetable oil into a large skillet…you only need about 1/2 an inch of oil. Then heat it up on high heat for a few minutes until the back of a wooden spoon makes bubbles when you stick it in. Cut your pita into wedges and carefully lower into the oil (here’s a picture of the pita frying from that old post because I didn’t take any this time around).
Cook for 30 seconds on one side, then carefully turn over and cook another 30 seconds, then drain on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with salt.
Holy mama, these are good. These take hummus from “health food snack” to “decadent treat.” Serve it up by spooning the hummus into a bowl, drizzling it with olive oil, sprinkling it with smoked paprika and surrounding it with these chips.
This is such a great dinner party appetizer, especially the homemade fried chips. My friend Jimmy (who’s moving with his partner Raef to L.A. next month, yay!) went nuts for it. Look at that smile:
Now go forth and make hummus and chips. It’s hard to think of this getting any better.