Monday, June 3, 2013

Lemon Basil Hummus with Basil Fried Flatbread

As the weather is heating up down here in Texas, it’s time to cool things down in the kitchen. I decided to try some new twists on some old favorites, and hummus was one of the first treats that came to mind. This version is bright and fresh, mainly relying on lemon and basil to give it a nice sparkle. The creaminess of the hummus pairs really well with the crispness of flatbread. And the Sciabica Basil Olive Oil brings it together nicely!

Lemon Basil Hummus with Basil Fried Flatbread
by Chris Hughes
adapted from the “Smooth Simple Hummus” recipe on the Inspired Taste blog

For the hummus:
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 - 3 Tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped (I used just over 2, but please alter to your taste.)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 - 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced (Start with a 1/2 Tablespoon, you can add more later if desired.)
1-15 ounce can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

For the flatbread:
1 package of store bought flatbread, your choice
1/4 cup Sciabica Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Alter depending on the size of bread.)

To make the hummus:
1. Combine the tahini and lemon juice in a food processor or blender for one minute. Scrape the bowl and mix for 30 seconds more.
2. Add the Sciabica Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic (start with 1/2 a Tablespoon), salt, cumin, and fresh basil (start with 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons), and mix for 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl and mix for 30 seconds more.
3. Add half of the can of chickpeas and mix/blend for one minute. Scrape the bowl.
4. Add the second half of the chickpeas and mix/blend for one minute. Scrape the bowl.
5. Mix/blend for one minute more, then scrape the bowl again. 
6. At this point, taste your hummus and see if you like the flavor and texture. If you want stronger flavors, now is the time to add extra garlic, salt, or fresh basil. Also evaluate the texture of the hummus. If it is too thin, add some more tahini (in half tablespoon amounts) and mix/blend in 30 second intervals, scraping and tasting after each. From my experience, it will probably be a bit thick. In order to thin it out, turn on your blender/ food processor, and simply add water in half tablespoon amounts as the machine is running. After each 1/2 tablespoon, mix/blend for 30 seconds. Scrape bowl and mix/blend for another 30 seconds. Taste and alter, as desired.

The hummus actually gets better if it is allowed to sit in the fridge and rest for a bit. To serve the hummus, put it into the bowl of your choice, drizzle with a little more of the Sciabica Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and sprinkle with some dried Italian herbs of your choice. Lemon zest is a pretty addition, but it is not necessary.

To make the flatbread:
1. Cut flatbread rounds into 4-6 pieces each, depending on your preference. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do this!
2. Grab a medium-sized non-stick pan, and swirl the Sciabica Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil into the pan to cover the bottom. And then add a little more. This is more of a technique than a recipe…heat the pan to medium. This may take a few minutes, but you don’t want to burn the oil.
3. Turn on your vent, grab some tongs, and gently place a few slices of bread into the warmed oil. Don’t crowd the pan, but do put as many pieces as possible into the pan. Watch them carefully, as you want a slightly browned outer crust and a still-soft center. Try to heat for about 40 seconds on the first side, then flip in order to brown the second side. I just lightly toast mine, less than a minute per side. When you are happy with the color and texture, remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Add more oil to the pan, and allow it to reheat. Repeat the process as necessary in order to complete your flatbread. 

To store leftover flatbread, simply put into a ziplock bag or plastic container. It will last for at least 2-3 days, unrefrigerated. Not that there will be leftovers, but… I hope that you all enjoy this as much as my family did. Cheers! -Chris

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