Monday, May 25, 2009

151. Hummus with Toasted Pine Nuts, Cumin Seeds, and Parsley Oil (p. 14)

The Book introduces this recipe by saying that "Hummus is so common these days it's become almost pedestrian." To me, this sounds a bit snobbish. It's kind of like those hipsters who claim not to like bands like Coldplay now that they have top-selling albums and sell out big arena shows. If you liked the band before they were popular, it's OK to keep on liking them once everyone else catches up to your superior trend-spotting skills. You don't have to apologize for liking something that everybody else likes. And you certanly don't have drizzle parsley oil all over your Coldplay CD and sprinkle toasted pine nuts, cumin seeds and parsley on it. You'll just wreck it.

At its core, this is just a basic recipe for very good hummus. First, I whizzed together some canned chickpeas and garlic in the food processor. Then I added some well-stirred tahini paste, water, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and more chickpeas, and whizzed it all together until it was smooth. Delicious! This is where I'll stop the next time I make this recipe.

The rest is all gilding the lily, especially when you do it all at the same time. Any one of the following accouterments on its own might be a nice little change, but all together, it's a bit much.

First, I blended equal parts of olive oil and chopped parsley in the blender. I poured this into a fine-mesh sieve and pressed the bright green oil from the solids. This parsley oil was was really good. It had a very fresh, almost grassy flavor. I'm sure that I'll find a use for this in some other dish that I make somewhere along the way.

Next, I toasted some pine nuts and cumin seeds in the oven. Toasting nuts and seeds is alwys dicy. They go from toasted to incinerated in the blink of an eye. The pine nuts were just a smidge "toastier" than I would have liked, but they were OK.

I sprinkled the toasted pine nuts and seeds over the hummus and dirzzled the parsley oil over the top. I didn't even take the last sept of scattering parsley leaves over the top of the whole thing. It was all just too much. This is an excellent basic hummus recipe. All of the "tarting-up" is good, but completely unnecessary. I just think that the editors of Gourmet "out-Gourmet-ed" themselves on this one.

Date Cooked: May 9, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Rating: A-

1 comment:

Chintimini said...

Actually, I have to say that I agree with you on this. I've been making this hummus recipe (altered) for years in exactly the fashion you have suggested.
I recently passed this recipe along to a friend and gave her the same advice.
I'm going to poke around your blog some more...so far I like it a bunch!