Without a doubt, the best hummus in my life comes from a wonderful little family-run business called Olives in Princeton, NJ. Back in the day, I spent many a college class sitting an extra seat away from the next guy, guzzling Breath Asure, chewing gum, breathing exclusively through my nose and staying perfectly mute after lunching on that garlicky nectar of the Greek gods. (These days I still make the occasional pilgrimage to pick up a pint, but now I just feed the stuff to my whole family and call it even.)
Although the folks at Olives couldn’t be nicer – and although I ordered 700 lunches from them one day in May to serve at a class reunion, a third of which contained hummus – it’s never felt like the right time to ask a single question about that secret recipe. In small part, I think I really don’t want to know how much oil might be involved in creating the silky texture I’ve never been able to achieve with mere mortal techniques. Mostly, though, I don’t want to disturb the beautiful mystery of this years-long relationship between me and my hummy.
Basically, the development of any hummus recipe can be no better in my mind than a (failed) attempt to reverse engineer Olives’ perfection. Recently, however, at the Red Bank farmers market, I had a little methodological breakthrough in that effort when I sampled a nice hummus made by Key Ingredient Market that had a lot of the same qualities as Olives’. Turns out one of the Key Ingredients is actually the lack of an ingredient – there’s no tahini. I think another key is the use of a blender rather than a food processor. So. Here is an admittedly non-Olives-worthy recipe for hummus using garlic scapes, a blender, and no tahini.
Last night we had a nice, simple CSF dinner of hummus, lettuce and tomato sandwiches on multi-grain bread. Yum!
Garlic Scape Hummus
2 15.5-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 garlic scapes, thinly sliced
Juice and zest of 1 1/2 lemons
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
Combine all ingredients in a blender, with the liquids on the bottom. Blend until completely smooth. (Note: My blender is industrial – I keep it next to my World’s Biggest Geek apron – so I hope this works in a regular blender. If you make it, let me know!)