My mother-in-law doesn’t cook. (Like my mom, she happily handed over the keys to the kitchen to her husband several years ago.) But, Let. Me. Tell. You. My mother-in-law makes the best hummus I’ve ever had. Her parents were from Lebanon, so this stuff is the real deal.
As I have learned, the key to great hummus is high-quality tahini. Good garbanzo beans are important, too. My favorite brands are pictured below, and are probably available at your local Mediterranean or International market. (If they aren’t, just ask the owner what she recommends.)
The other ingredients are fairly basic — garlic, lemon, salt, and olive oil — so plan to get these at your regular grocery store.
Now, as my mother-in-law would attest, one of the best things about hummus is that it does not require any cooking. That said, if you feel compelled to turn on a burner, here is what I love to do with the garlic:
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the peeled garlic — in whole cloves — to the oil. Cook the garlic for a few minutes on each side, just until lightly golden brown. (Burned garlic tastes bitter, so if you over-brown the garlic, discard and start over.) Then, use this “fried” garlic in place of the raw garlic in your recipe. The flavor of cooked garlic is deep and penetrating; when added to hummus, the dish becomes even more rich, complex, and completely delicious.
Yummy Hummus with Fried Garlic
Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer
1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3-5 cloves “fried” garlic, or 2-3 cloves raw garlic
1/4 cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
6 to 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Dash of sweet paprika, to sprinkle on top
Raw veggies (carrots, celery, cucumber, radishes, cherry tomatoes, etc.)
Pita chips or pita bread, cut into triangles
Place the garbanzo beans, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender. Blend until smooth. Add more oil if the mixture is not smooth enough. Blend again until combined.
Transfer hummus to a serving bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with paprika. Serve at room temperature, with raw veggies, pita bread, or pita chips.