Monday, April 28, 2014

Hummus with Maiitake & Oyster Mushrooms

Hummus with Maiitake & Oyster Mushrooms
Serves 6 
Hummus with Maiitake & Oyster Mushrooms
This basic hummus recipe is super smooth and rich in tahini augmented with cumin and a lot of lemon. But, it should be regarded as a sublime base – use as is – or enhance with toppings of your choice. I chose Hummus with Maiitake and Oyster Mushrooms for this recipe. The silky, cumin-laced hummus gets a contrasting texture and a savory boost from the tangle of mushrooms on top. But, you could certainly serve the hummus alone with a drizzle of olive oil, or turn it into a very substantial meal with the addition kawarma (lamb) & lemon (for a future blog!)

Political and nationalistic discussions about hummus – where it started and how; who first added sesame paste, crushed chickpeas – are endless. Many feel that it was the Egyptian Arabs who first made hummus, though celebrated Jewish author Meir Shalev feels there is clear evidence that Jews ate hummus in biblical times. Regardless of origin, one is still left with who makes the best hummus now. Top quality tahini is a key ingredient. This paste is made from ground, hulled sesame seeds. It is creamy, oily and smooth with a nut butter consistency and rich in calcium. Look for tahini in a glass jar or can, in the ethnic food aisle of your grocer or in health food stores. You can also find fresh tahini in the refrigerator section next to the prepared hummus in larger well-stocked grocers.

This recipe is a good springboard to begin your quest of the best hummus. You will be amazed how truly simple it is to make – to the point of wondering why you would ever opt for grocery store hummus of questionable age and ingredients.
Key ingredients
For Hummus:
  • ¼ C dried chickpeas
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6½ C water
  • 1 C plus 2 Tb tahini paste
  • Juice from 2-3 large lemons
  • 1 preserved lemon, rinsed and finely chopped  (optional; see or can purchase at the grocery store)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6½ Tb ice-cold water
  • Salt

For Mushroom topping:
  • 1 C pine nuts
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1 lb thinly sliced mushrooms, oyster and maiitake mix
  • Kosher salt
  • Parsley, chopped for garnish (garnish)
  • Sweet paprika, for garnish
  • Olive oil for garnish

To make hummus: The night before, put the dried chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
Soak the chickpeas overnight
The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water, optional ¼ of the chopped preserved lemon and bring to a boil. Watch carefully so it does not boil over. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on type and freshness. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your fingers, almost but not quite mushy.

Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3½ C now. Place the cooked chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. With the machine running, add the tahini paste, fresh lemon juice, and remainder of the preserved lemon, cumin, garlic and 2 tsp salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.

Chopped preserved lemons....these are homemade, but now can be purchased
In the food processor and ready to blend
Smooth consistency after processing

Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If refrigerating, make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.

To make Mushrooms:
Heat oven to 300 degree F. Toss pine nuts and olive oil in a bowl until evenly coated. Transfer to a baking sheet; bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Toasted pine nuts
Pour canola oil to a depth of 2 inches in a 6 qt Dutch oven; heat over medium-high heat until a deep fry thermometer reads 350 degree F. Working in batches, add mushrooms, and fry until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season immediately with kosher salt.
Sliced oyster mushrooms
Frying the mushrooms

Spread hummus on bottom of a serving dish, forming a shallow well in the center; fill well with fried mushrooms and pine nuts. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and paprika and drizzle with olive oil.  Serve with pita or flat bread to accolades.

Hummus can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for future use. It can be eaten as described here or simply spread on a plate, drizzled with your favorite high quality finishing olive oil, and eaten with a pita or bread.


This recipe was adapted from “Jerusalem: A Cookbook” by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi

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