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Mike Wolfberg's Recipe for Hummus Tahini

This is one of several recipes developed by Mike and his late wife, Julie, for a Concord/Carlisle Massachusetts Newcomers Gourmet Group dinner which took place in the first half of the 1970s.

The following recipe is for the way I like to prepare this dish; however, to save time, I have often instead put all ingredients into a food processor and mixed them for about one minute. I think it is important to first press the garlic.

This recipe yields 2 cups. The figures in parentheses throughout this recipe are optional 50% higher yield numbers.

19 or 20 (29-30) oz. can of chickpeas
Brands vary some, but I can never recall my favorite - perhaps Progresso.

4 1/2 (7) TBL. sesame tahini
This is a crucial ingredient; Sahadi brand is the best; this used to be easy to find; it can be found today at Middle Eastern grocery stores in Belmont, MA, such as Eastern Lamejun Bakers
1 1/2 to 2 (3) medium cloves garlic
peeled and sliced in half lengthwise, and the mature centers discarded

2 (3) tsp. dried parsley
I prefer Durkees for this, even though I prefer Penzeys as a brand in general. 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. of Penzeys dried parsley is used when serving.

1 (1 1/2) TBL. olive oil
I tend to use non-virgin Bertolli or Berio brands. Another 1-2 TBL. of this oil is used when serving.

6 (9) TBL. fresh lemon juice
One to two large lemons will yield this.

1/4 tsp. salt
or less if desired

white pita bread
Whole wheat pita is too strong; avoid Sahara brand; Joseph's is a good brand; another bread that's good is Cedar's Stone-Ground Whole Wheat Mountain Bread.
  1. Open the can of chickpeas, and leave some of the lid attached. Drain and save at least 8 TBL. of the juice from the can. While still in the can, rinse and drain the chickpeas several times with water. Optionally, remove and discard the skin from each chickpea. If you avoid this, there can be annoying pieces of the skin in the result. If, contrary to my suggestion (see step 2), you puree this, such as in a food processor or blender, then skinning can be skipped.

  2. It is my opinion this dip should have some substance and not be a smooth puree; this is the way I learned to like this dish before it became generally popular outside of Middle Eastern restaurants. Put the chickpeas into a bowl, and mash them with a masher, using a twisting motion. Do not mash thoroughly - leave some semi-mashed pieces to add texture and interest to the dip.

  3. Combine all the ingredients in this order, stirring as you go: tahini, oil, 4 (6) TBL. of the reserved juice, pressed garlic, parsley, salt. The garlic must be pressed through a garlic press - there is no substitute. A press with smallish holes is best.

  4. The hummus is ready to serve as soon as the parsley has absorbed moisture, perhaps in about 30 minutes. The flavors are more vibrant when served the same day - this is recommended. It can be kept in the refrigerator, but should be served at room temperature. If it seems too dry, add some more of the reserved juice.

  5. Spread the dip on a flat platter. Drip on another 1-2 TBL. of olive oil. Sprinkle 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of Penzeys dried parsley, crumbling it in your hand as you move over the dip. My style of serving this with pita bread is just to put out some loaves of the bread (perhaps warmed briefly in the oven), and let folks break off pieces to serve as dippers.

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