This is my favorite appetizer — sourced from the Farmshop in Larkspur. It is served with an assortment of colorful vegetables, but it is also yummy scooped onto crackers — even a spoon. It makes a great Spring entertaining option or just a delicious healthy snack for the family.
Note on nigella seeds: Native to the Mediterranean region, they have an oregano-like quality with herbaceous notes, a slight bitterness and a warm, toasted-onion flavor. They can be ordered on Amazon but you can substitute black sesame seeds instead or serve without.
- 1 pound (about 3 cups) cooked chickpeas (see NOTE)
- A little crushed ice
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ripe Haas avocados, peeled and seeded
- 1 recipe Pistachio Salsa Verde (recipe follows)
- Nigella seeds
- Assorted cut vegetables
Pulse the cooked chickpeas with a little bit of crushed ice in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed. (The ice will facilitate the blending and produce a smooth texture.) Add tahini and pulse until smooth, then add the lemon juice. Continue pulsing, adding olive oil until texture is very smooth.
Peel and seed the avocados, then add to the processor, continuing to pulse to a smooth paste. Add salt to taste.
Put hummus in a serving bowl. Distribute Pistachio Salsa Verde over top. Sprinkle with nigella seeds. Serve with assorted vegetables.
Note on cooking chickpeas:
- Put good-quality, small dried chickpeas in a large strainer and wash under cold running water, removing any foreign matter or damaged chickpeas. Transfer chickpeas to a large bowl or pot, cover well with cold water, add a pinch of baking soda and let soak overnight.
- Drain chickpeas from soaking liquid and, again, wash well under cold running water.
- Put chickpeas in a large pot and generously cover with water. Add another pinch of baking soda. Set pot over moderate heat and bring water to a low boil. Skim any foam and/or skins from top of water. Boil until chickpeas are very soft and can be easily smashed when pressed between two fingers, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Drain chickpeas and use as desired.
- One pound dried chickpeas will yield about 2 pounds 4 ounces cooked.
Pistachio Salsa Verde
- About 1/3 cup pistachios
- 1 lemon (zest only)
- 3 tablespoons sliced chives
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Fleur de sel to taste
- Olive oil
- Spread the pistachios on a baking sheet and put them in a preheated 325°F oven until very lightly toasted. Remove pistachios from the oven and while they are still warm, put them on a cutting board and lightly chop.
- Use a microplane grater (with very fine holes) to zest the lemon and add to the warm pistachios along with the chives and parsley. Mix well and season to taste with salt. Add just enough olive oil to make pistachios glisten. Toss well.