Last week, I was looking over the high stacks of cookbooks that come to my desk for review. "Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume: Cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean," with its stunning jacket design, jumped out of the pile. The soup is chilled sweet pea and watercress with a rose petal cream. The author, Silvena Rowe, was raised in Bulgaria, near Istanbul (her father is Turkish). Rowe, executive chef at Quince at the May Fair Hotel in London, is a popular TV personality there.
She begins her discussion of hummus with this: "I wasn't going to include a hummus recipe in this book -- there are just so many of them, and everyone knows how to make it, at least I thought so." Her own version is "deliciously light, silky and creamy," she writes. That's because she removes the skins of dried chickpeas. The task is laborious, but she thought it was the only way to do it. Then she met a Syrian chef, Muhanad Jazier, who told her to simmer the soaked chickpeas in boiling water with baking soda. Then, when it's time to puree them, add chips of ice to the food processor. The cooked chickpeas taste like sweet mashed potato nuggets after cooking.
It's magic. The finished hummus is as light and silky as promised. I make hummus often, from both dried and canned chickpeas, and no recipe I've ever made touches this.
2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water to cover
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 to 5 ice cubes, crushed
1/4 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground sumac
1. Drain the chickpeas and transfer to a large saucepan. Add cold water to cover by several inches and the baking soda. Bring to a boil, skim the foam from the surface, and simmer, skimming often, for 30 minutes or until the chickpeas are tender. Drain into a colander.
2. In a food processor, work the chickpeas, dropping in the ice cubes one piece at a time. Stop the machine from time to time to scrape down the sides of the workbowl.
3. Add the tahini, garlic, juice of 1 lemon, and salt. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon, if you like. Transfer to a shallow bowl, smooth the top, and garnish with olive oil and sumac. Sheryl Julian. Adapted from "Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume"
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.