Is there anything more glorious than freshly whipped hummus? And no, store-bought doesn’t count. Hummus is a dish that truly embodies the essence that the simplest of ingredients are often at the top of life’s pleasures. It’s a Middle Eastern dish that has traveled beyond its birthplace becoming a staple around the world and is a no rules dish to creating flavour. BUT, and we don’t say this very often, our Hummus topped with Dukkah is the creamiest, full-bodied and zingiest you’ll ever taste. It may be the hummus dish to rule all other hummus dishes and while we can only describe its character, the proof is in the hummus.
Tip: Pinch the skins off the chickpeas before you blend them. It takes 5 minutes but makes the world of difference on the texture of the hummus.
Inspired by the intimate and quaint Beast Restaurant in Toronto, Chef Scott Vivian’s asparagus, hummus, duqqa, charred eggplant snacking plate, evoked a pleasure and passion in us so strong that we used it as a muse, tying their elements of grilled veggies and dukkah with cherry tomatoes, mint and crumbled feta.
The trick though, to elevate any traditional hummus base, is the removal of the skins. Taking 5 minutes to pinch the skins off each chickpea results in a much smoother bite. Tedious we know, but trust us this makes all the difference. Another tip we can offer to elevating your hummus is adding in about a half cup of yogurt. We used sheep yogurt, more tang and less lactose, the yogurt not only adds a luxurious layer and cloud-like texture but replaces the olive oil, making your base less bitter.
Hummus with Grilled Eggplant and Asparagus
PREP TIME | 15 Minutes
COOK TIME | 20 Minutes
INGREDIENTS | Makes 4-6 Servings
- 1 eggplant, sliced in ¼ inch rounds
- 12 asparagus spears, sliced in half lengthwise
- ¼ cup minced mint leaves
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Crumbly cheese for garnish
- Crostini, pita, or crackers to serve
- ¼ cups hazelnuts
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 can chick peas
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp tahini
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- ½ cup yogurt
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
No. 1 | Marinate the eggplant slices and asparagus spears with a good drizzling of olive oil and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper.
No. 2 | Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan on high heat for 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan so that the nuts don’t burn. Remove excess skins by rubbing the nuts in a clean tea towel, and place them in a bowl to cool. Toast the sesame seeds, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds for about 1 minute, again shaking the pan. Place them in the same bowl as the nuts. Once everything is cool, place in a mortar and pestle or food processor and grind until it has the texture of coarse sand.
No. 3 | Drain the chickpeas and remove the skins. Place the chickpeas in the food processor and add the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, and yogurt. Blend until smooth, about 45 seconds. Taste and season with the salt and pepper. Scrape the sides down and blend for an additional minute.
No. 4 | Grill the eggplant and asparagus on the bbq or grill pan until cooked through. The time will vary, but it took us about 5 minutes/side for the eggplant and 5 minutes total for the asparagus.
No. 5 | Scrape the hummus onto the centre of a large plate or platter. Spread it out evenly and top with eggplant rounds and asparagus. Sprinkle about 3-4 tbsps of the dukkah, mint and a squeeze of lemon juice evenly on top. Garnish with a sprinkling of feta or ricotta cheese.
Styling tip: Spoon the hummus on a plate or large serving platter and evenly spread it out with the back of a spoon. Serve with chopped veggies, crostini or more traditional with pita bread.
Bon appetit xo
Chef Sous Chef