There is a popular New York City quick food establishment called Chickpea. It's a nice, healthy choice (their food is "always baked, never fried" to the usual lunch options in Midtown Manhattan. When one opened up in Penn Station, it was as if some super-human being had invented a new food and graced the underbelly of Manhattan (Penn Station) with the light of his or her culinary genius.
They created what they surely thought were catchy marketing jargon such as:
"Hummus a song about hummus you love our hummus."
Obviously, had I or any of my colleagues been a part of this marketing campaign, that would have never flown. But despite their questionable copywriting skills, It would not be rare to see several coworkers waiting patiently on the line that snaked around the store, each waiting for his or her shwarafel (chicken shawarma and falafel) platter, topped generously with tabbouleh, roasted eggplant, a reddish colored mystery grain (I still to this day have no idea what this grain was, but I do know it was delicious and they were not skimpy with it. No they were not.) or whatever other Mediterranean delight one's heart desired. I would watch in awe as the short man behind the counter plopped my hummus of choice (roasted red pepper, basil and pine nut, jalapeno scallion or original) quickly into the crater of my to-go bowl and, with several flicks of his wrist, ran a spoon in a circular motion through the hummus to create the most beautifully arranged bowl of hummus my eyes had ever laid... eyes on?
He then would top the hummus with a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of chopped parsley, and a dusting of paprika. I was in awe.
Of course, there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing", as we all tired quickly of the Chickpea phenomenon. Soon, going to Chickpea would be totally passe and co-workers would scrunch up their noses and scoff at the thought of frequenting that establishment any longer. That was, like SO February 2011.
However, when I attempted my own try at hummus, after finding a recipe from the fantastic blog Pinch My Salt, I couldn't help but remember the short man behind the counter and his method to making hummus look, well, great. And THIS is the type of hummus that needs to LOOK great, because it TASTES AMAZING. Like "I can eat this whole thing in one sitting" amazing. The complex flavor of roasted red pepper, the nutty bite of tahini, the spicy kick of red pepper flakes, and the surprising sweetness of agave nectar make this a hummus that really does make you want to hum...mus a song about hummus you love this hummus.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus adapted from Pinch My Salt
1 16-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded* (you can use jarred red pepper- 1/2 cup drained)
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon tahini
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon agave
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
paprika for sprinkling (optional)
1 tsp chopped parsley (optional)
olive oil for drizzling (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. You may have to stop to stir and/or scrape down the ingredients a few times.
Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil, sprinkle on chopped parsley and a dash of paprika.
Leftover hummus can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for a few days.