The simple process of roasting does amazing things to garlic. It mellows out the sharp bite and makes it almost sweet. Anytime the oven will be hot for about an hour, it’s simple to cut off the top of a garlic bulb, wrap it loosely in foil, and toss it in along side whatever you’re making. It will keep for a few days in the refrigerator until you need it. Keep it wrapped in foil in a small ziplock bag. Then, all you have to do is squeeze the lovely, sweet paste from the papery casing. I’ll leave to your imagination the many uses for roasted garlic. For just a few, think about adding it to olive oil as a dip for bread, or on pizza or a baked potato. But today, hummus.
I make hummus at least once a week. Recently, I’ve changed a few things that elevate the end product significantly. First of all, I’ve been peeling the chickpeas. I know that this sounds strange, but it’s not hard to do, and it makes for a much smoother finished product. Just rub the chickpeas between your hands and the outer skin slips off. I use Goya canned chickpeas that I rinse in a colander in the sink, so taking the extra step isn’t hard. Okay, it’s a bit of a pain. but it makes such a difference that I can’t revert to not doing it.
Then there’s the addition of roasted garlic. One thing that bothers me about hummus is the sting of raw garlic that gets stronger as the hummus sits in the refrigerator for a couple of days. I’ve tried different amounts of garlic in the recipe to avoid the harshness, but using roasted garlic is the answer. Instead of minced raw garlic, squeezing a bulb of roasted garlic into the chickpea/tahini/lemon mixture makes all the difference. I used the whole bulb because it was pretty small, but use your own judgement if you’re dealing with a large bulb.
If I’m being honest, I don’t normally follow a recipe. I usually just toss a number of appropriate ingredients in the food processor. The following recipe is just a guide. If you like more Tabasco, or less tahini, it’s your call. Fresh lemon juice is mandatory. I will often cut back a bit on the olive oil and use additional lemon juice instead.
15.5 ounce can chick peas (Garbanzos)
1/4 cup sesame tahini
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 shakes Tabasco
roasted garlic bulb, squeezed (or 1 clove garlic, minced)
juice of 1 lemon (1/4 cup)
1/3 cup olive oil
1. Drain and rinse the can of chick peas. Remove the outer skins.
2. Combine the chick peas, tahini paste, salt, pepper, Tabasco, garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor with the blade in place..
3. While the processor is turning, pour the olive oil in the opening at the top. Continue processing until you reach a smooth consistency.
A couple of additional thoughts:
Sesame tahini is usually found in the salad dressing section of a market. I usually buy it in a tin, but I’ve also seen it in a glass jar.
California Extra Virgin Olive Oil is reasonably priced and flavorful.