Hummus – Tradition and Invention

Absolutes are dangerous.

Of course, absolutes are also attractive, sometimes very attractive because they eliminate uncertainty and create a kind of level playing ground for the mind.  After all, life is so unpredictable, it’s only natural that we’re drawn to anything we perceive as steady, fixed and resolved.  But the truth is, the truth can vary.

And that’s as true in matters of food as it is of anything.  If you’re a well-traveled southerner or just one with family in more than one state, you probably know this instinctively.  Just you try to declare a definitive recipe for BBQ, corn bread, or, heck, even deviled eggs, and you’re likely to find yourself embroiled in the kind of ruckus that has been known suspend family reunions indefinitely and to rouse normally serene southern grandmothers to expletive laced invective.

In parts of the Middle East, you’ll find the same passion for the absolute in discussions about hummus and the one true recipe.  But if history has taught us anything, it demonstrates that there is no such thing as the one true recipe.  Hummus, like all good food, has as many incarnations as there are hands that make it.

Besides, history is notoriously incomplete in matters of food.  Even today as young writers relish and record family recipes, they’re setting down instructions and ingredients that are often several generations old, passed sometimes by food stained recipe card and sometimes by oral tradition. An old family recipe that insists that Duke’s is absolutely the only mayo for a properly deviled egg is curious to me because both Mama and Mamaw only ever had Helman’s in their kitchens.  Somebody changed that absolute, I know it.  And I know that’s true of hummus, too, because I’ve seen it happen.

Hummus is shorthand for hummus bi tahini which means chickpea with sesame paste.  It’s an old recipe with a first recorded mention sometime in the 13th century, though some folks argue that the first reference is actually in the Old Testament’s Book of Ruth.  There’s no recipe in Ruth, just an invitation to dip some bread in the hometz, and that’s just as well; chickpea cultivation is about 10, 000 years old, and I feel confident that someone, whether by accident or intention, mashed up the chickpea and found it good long before anybody even figured out how to make paper.

The basic ingredients of hummus are chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon – and from there it’s a story about invention, adaptation, and experimentation that has launched a thousand little tweaks in kitchens across the globe and close to home, too.

Even here in the Tomato Head kitchens we have a signature recipe that we couldn’t resist fiddling with.  Oh, don’t worry – our original and unsubtle hummus remains as original and unsubtle as ever, but we’ve added some more flavors to the mix.  In fact, there are four new flavors: Beet, Black Bean Sriracha, Carrot, and Classic.

Our new Classic hummus is a traditional, smooth and creamy chickpea centered dip.  The other flavors are just what they sound like because the recipes remain short, simple and fresh. And we make all of them by hand right here at home – that means we roast beets, shred carrots and mash the chickpeas ourselves.

And while they make great dips, don’t get so caught up in absolutes that you overlook all the hummus hack potential – consider the recipe below, Tomato Head’s Beet and Carrot Hummus Sandwich.  It combines 2 flavors of hummus with the taste of market fresh produce for a sandwich of considerable crunch and savor.  And even if the recipe doesn’t pre-date the Common Era and does take some liberties with even older recipes, it’s still absolutely delicious

 

Tomato Head’s Beet and Carrot Hummus Sandwich

For the Corn and Green Bean Salad:

8-10 Green Beans

1 ear Corn

2 tsp Fresh Mint Chopped

2 TBL Feta Cheese

4 tsp Olive Oil

2 tsp Lemon Juice

¼ tsp Salt

¼ tsp Cracked Black Pepper

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for 3-5 minutes just until tender. Remove the corn from the pot. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob. Place the corn kernels in a medium sized bowl and set aside. Drop the green beans in the same pot of water and cook for 30 seconds. Drain the green beans and immerse them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Remove the green beans from the ice water and slice thin. Add green beans and remaining ingredients to corn and toss well.

To assemble the sandwich:

1 – 9 oz tub Tomato Head Carrot Hummus

1 – 9 oz tub Tomato Head Beet Hummus

Flour Head Bakery 100% Wheat Bread

1-2 leaves Lacinato Kale Julienned

1 Green Zucchini sliced thin

1 Yellow Zucchini sliced thin

1 Tomato sliced

Place 2 slices of bread on your cutting board. Spread one slice generously with Carrot Hummus, and the other with Beet Hummus. Top one of the slices of bread with Julienned Kale, followed by Yellow Zucchini, Green Zucchini, Corn and Green Bean Salad and Sliced Tomato. Sprinkle the Sliced tomato with Salt and Pepper. Place the second slice of bread on top of the tomato, hummus side down. Cut sandwich in half. Repeat the process if building more than one sandwich.

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design