Put that Sabra back on the shelf because you are never going to buy prepackaged hummus again.
I won’t even be sensitive with my assumptions here. You’re going to love this, for the same reasons that it’s been heralded as the best hummus on the east coast, been named Bon Appétit’s 2015 Best Dish of The Year, and earned Chef Michael Solomonov quite the entourage. It’s incredibly rich, creamy, nutty, and silky, and as my good friend, Elysse, said, “it’s the only time I’ve heard a hummus called ethereal.” Ethereal!
And luckily, it’s both easy and affordable to make at home, so you don’t have to travel all the way to Solomonov’s Philadelphia-based restaurants to get it.
Michael Solomonov’s Perfect Hummus Tehina begins with tehina, the Israeli building block that begets many of the country’s best dishes. You may know it as tahini if you’re more familiar with Greek cuisine, but in Israel, the pure sesame seed paste is an honored staple that’s added into dips, spreads, sauces, and sweets by the the ton. There is no escaping tehina in Israeli cooking, which is a very good thing, if you ask me.
Instead of just combining the other dip ingredients and tehina all at once, Solomonov first blends together lemon juice and garlic and allows it to sit for 10 minutes before straining out the solids and mixing in the tehina paste. This stabilizes the garlic, preventing it from fermenting and becoming overwhelmingly sour. If you’ve tried to make hummus at home before and didn’t use that tip, you likely know exactly what he’s talking about.
When you start to incorporate the tehina, you might notice that your sauce starts to seize up into a really unappealing texture. No worries. Adding in just a few tablespoons of ice water as you whisk will bring it back to that perfectly smooth consistency.
Resist the urge to eat all of the tehina sauce as-is. I’m certainly not judging if you decide to sneak a few spoonfuls, but save the bulk of it to mix in with the chickpeas. It’s hard to believe, but it gets even better.
So how does the hummus get so silky smooth? Baking soda. Don’t worry, you can’t taste it, but the alkalinity helps to break down the cell walls of the chickpeas, making the skins soft enough that you don’t have to peel them. (Because, really, who has time for that?)
For this recipe, you must use dried chickpeas, soak them, and then overcook them to the point that they’re falling apart. The resulting hummus is out of this universe. Don’t be tempted by the canned chickpeas– soaking dry beans overnight is so simple, and the result is immensely creamier and more flavorful.
Cumin and salt are the only spices necessary to add in to Solomonov’s Hummus Tehina, as anything else would detract from its flavor. However, a dash of paprika, drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkle of torn parsley leaves to top never hurt anyone.
I serve the hummus with bell pepper, cucumber, olives, feta, and most importantly, some Homemade Pita, for dipping. The pita bread is also from Michael Solomonov’s new cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, which includes recipes from the Zahav restaurant’s hit menu such as their famous lamb shoulder, all sorts of kebabs, dozens of mezze, and more. If you enjoy Israeli food, I cannot recommend this cookbook enough.
Try a taste of perfection yourself, take a photo, and tag #hostthetoast on Instagram or Twitter to show off your creamy, luxurious hummus for the world to drool over. Thank you, Mike Solomonov, for sharing your recipe!
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ cups Basic Tehina Sauce (recipe below)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Chopped or torn fresh parsley leaves
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 head garlic
- ¾ cup lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 generous cups tehina
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Place the chickpeas in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the baking soda and cover with water. (The chickpeas will double in volume, so use more water than you think you need.) Soak the chickpeas overnight at room temperature. The next day, drain the chickpeas and rinse under cold water.
- Place the chickpeas in a large pot with the remaining 1 teaspoon baking soda and add cold water to cover by at least 4 inches. Bring the chickpeas to a boil over high heat, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pot, and continue to simmer for about 1 hour, until the chickpeas are completely tender. Then simmer them a little more. (The secret to creamy hummus is overcooked chickpeas: don't worry if they are mushy and falling apart a little.) Drain.
- As the chickpeas cook, make the Basic Tehina Sauce. Break up the head of garlic with your hands, letting the unpeeled cloves fall into a blender. Add the lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Blend on high for a few seconds until you have a coarse puree. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes to let the garlic mellow.
- Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large mixing bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Add the tenia to the strained lemon juice in the bowl, along with the cumin and 1 teaspoon of the salt.
- Whisk the mixture together until smooth (or use a food processor), adding ice water, a few tablespoons at a time, to thin it out. The sauce will lighten in color as you whisk. When the tehina seizes up or tightens, keep adding ice water, bit by bit (about 1½ cups in total), whisking energetically until you have a perfectly smooth, creamy, thick sauce.
- Taste and add up to 1½ teaspoons more salt and cumin if you like. If you're not using the sauce immediately, whisk in a few tablespoons of ice water to loosen it before refrigerating. The tehina sauce will keep a week refrigerated, or it can be frozen for up to a month.
- Combine the chickpeas, 1½ cups Basic Tehina Sauce, remaining salt and cumin in a food processor. Puree the hummus for several minutes, until it is smooth and uber-creamy. Then puree it some more!
- To serve, spread the hummus in a shallow bowl, dust with paprika, top with parsley and more tehina sauce if you like, and drizzle generously with oil.
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