From Too Many Chefs -

September 14, 2006
Hummus with a heck of a lot of garlic

I was inspired by a very appetizing photo by former TMC contributor Paul Goyette - this one - to make hummus the other day. The idea of smooth lemony garlicy hummus on pita bread just overwhelmed me after seeing Paul's photo.

I didn't exactly recreate the hummus in his photo (mine's a bit lumpier for one thing), but I did make a garlic bomb that's delicious if you can stand the stink. The key is fresh garlic. Only fresh garlic has enough stink power to really get into your pores the way this stuff does. Make sure that if you serve this at a social event that everyone has some or the odd man out will be unhappy in close conversation.

You will need tahini for this recipe, a thin oily paste made from sesame seeds. It's good to have around not just for hummus but for baba ghanoush and even salad dressing. If you can't find tahini in the ethnic aisle or Mediterranean/Middle Eastern aisle of your local megamart, don't go back there. It's pretty mainstream these days.

One thing I really like about this recipe is that all you need to make it is a knife and a blender. It makes plenty to feed 8 as a side/appetizer and 4 as a main dish with other mezze dishes to accompany. If you like your hummos milder, reduce the garlic or roast it first until it's sweet and brown before chopping and adding to the blender.

You can also use more water to lighten the dip in the blender, but I like it full strength.

Hummus with a heck of a lot of garlic

1 28 oz can boiled chickpeas (or 2 14 oz cans), drained
2/3 cup tahini
1/2 cup lemon juice, plus 2 tablespoons
4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped fine, or roasted and then chopped fine.
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil (use the pretty good stuff, but not the best stuff)
1/4 cup olive oil (the best stuff)
pinch of salt (to taste)
pinch of sumac (the dried sour red spice, not the poison tree)
parsley for garnish
pitas, cut into 8 wedges per pita for dipping

Put the chickpeas, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, tahini, salt, garlic and water in a blender. Pulse and scrape down until all the chickpeas are blended. While pulsing drizzle in the olive oil. You may need to stir the hummos in the blender to fully integrate the oil.

Make a ring of hummos on a plate. In a cup, mix the 1/4 cup of good olive oil and the two tablespoons of lemon together. Pour into the center of the ring. Dust spots on the edge of the ring with sumac and parsley.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at September 14, 2006 9:36 AM

Yummy yummy oh so yummy. (Psst... when I want a softer garlicky flavor, I throw the garlic cloves into the bean pot for the last three minutes or so of cooking. It seems to take the edge off the sharpness, but still provides plenty of deep garlic flavor.)

Posted by Elsa on September 14, 2006 at 1:11 PM

Did you use Australian olive oil for the 1/4 cup?

And another question for you (or the masses) - does anyone know exactly how long you can keep tahini in the fridge? Whenever I find it here, it seems to come in a huge container and I just don't use it that often. So it usually lurks at the back of the fridge until I'm SURE it must be out of date...

Posted by Meg in Paris on September 14, 2006 at 1:29 PM

Why yes, Meg, I DID use Rowallan Australian olive oil for the center bit. It's light and fruity flavor goes well with any Mediterranean food. I only wish it was regularly available in a supermarket near me. I'm sure it would be competitively priced for the market and a great value for the discerning olive oil consumer.

OK, have I said enough to get Sam to find a US distributor yet?

Posted by barrett on September 14, 2006 at 1:47 PM

The hummus looks great Barrett and thanks for the recommendation. Actually, you are in pretty good chef company this week. Jamie Oliver, who is currently opening a restaurant in Melbourne for new television series, said last week that Aussie olive oil is as good as anything he has tasted in Europe. And being a little bit more parochial, for my little region , Nigela Lawson’s favorite olive oil comes from the Limestone Coast in South Australia. Her endorsement means it sells for a premium in London. In any case the most important tip for Too Many Chefs readers is to only use fresh olive oil. From wherever it is sourced If you are fortunate enough to have a nearby farmers market that is where I would look first.

Posted by Sam on September 16, 2006 at 4:31 AM

Since we're talking about Aussie olive oil, has anyone tried Bird in Hand's olive oil? It's the best that I've tasted from Down South. (Of course I could be partial, since I have lived in Aussie land... :-) )
Here's the website:

Posted by LPC on September 18, 2006 at 4:18 PM