Hummus. Humous. Howmouse. Is there a definitively ‘right’ way to spell it?
Leaving that to the side, the recipe I’m posting about today is more of a chickpea spread than an actual h*m*s, but for ease of reference I thought I’d stick with a one-word definition. This is one of the first ideas I had for using my harissa paste from Sainsbury’s, so I’m glad to finally be able to try and and report that it is an excellent idea. Just a little harissa give hummus a spicy, fragrant edge, and adds flecks of colour. The spring onion gives some great colour, too, along with a little bit of crunch throughout the spread, and another level of flavour. You could swap the spring onion for chives for something a little bit mellower, or if that’s what you have to hand – or another soft herb like parsley or even a little mint might work? Hummus is a good starting point for experiments like that. Another thing to note is that hummus would usually contain tahini, but personally I never have a jar to hand when I want it. What I do always have is sesame oil, and I’ve found that it does the trick.
Now, to business. Do you remember when I made that great avocado spread, and I made it right on the chopping board and didn’t mess up my food processor or an extra bowl, fork or potato masher? Well, I decided to go down the same route for this, with slightly mixed results. You see, I really wanted to use one of my gorgeous new chopping boards, even though I knew that none of them were big enough for the job. But I did it anyway, because sometimes I make unconventional decisions.
There’s a joke in here somewhere. ‘We’re going to need a bigger board’.
If you’d like to make your own, I’d suggest you use something with much more room to work because chickpeas are not compliant. Anything round is always going to be a bit of an accident waiting to happen, when you tip it out onto a chopping board, let’s face it.
Harissa and Spring Onion Hummus – makes enough for a snack for two:
- 200g chickpeas in brine, brine reserved (ie do NOT pour the brine down the sink when you drain the can)
- 1 clove garlic – size dependent on your love for garlic
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp other, light oil
- generous 1/4 tsp harissa paste
- 1 spring onion, white and green parts, chopped into rounds
- salt and pepper, to taste
Begin by tipping the chickpeas as carefully as you can onto your chopping board. You’re bound to lose one or two to the floor – that’s your kitchen sacrifice for today.
Crush and add the garlic to the pile, then begin slicing through the whole lot with a sharp knife. It will be tricky at first, particularly if your chopping board isn’t big enough… Just keep slicing, re-gathering, and slicing again, until the chickpeas are starting to look well chopped.
Now is the time to add your sesame oil, other oil (I used a light olive oil) and harissa paste to the mix. You should also add a little of the brine from the chickpeas – start with 1 – 2 teaspoons of it. This will add much-needed moisture, and help bind the spread together.
Chop and mix these ingredients through, which should make the whole lot less reluctant to stay together as a unit and reduce the number of stray half-chickpeas pinging off to litter the four corners of the kitchen. Now you can begin to use the side of the knife blade to crush and puree the chickpeas even further, which should release some starch and some creaminess. You can add as much more of the chickpea brine as you need to really get the right texture. If you run out, you can use plain old water, but you’re losing out on some flavour that way.
Once your hummus (or spread) is the texture you want, stir in the chopped spring onion, then taste and season. You are now ready to serve – you could be traditional and put it in a bowl, orrrrr…
…if you have new chopping boards you want to show off, you might consider forming the spread into a rectangle and serving straight from the board!
This was lunch for me yesterday, and I have to say I did get a kick out of serving it straight from the board. I love that wee hedgehog. The mini pitta bread is not homemade, I regret to announce, but it is delicious nonetheless. I opened it up, stuffed it with the spread, and spent the rest of the afternoon garlicked out my napper. Bliss.