One for the veggies? No! One for all of us. This was one of those things that came together randomly in a helter skelter way, and I am so glad that it did.
When I was in France recently I bought some dried chickpeas from a farmer at the market. I cooked half of them last week, and they were so lovely. Great texture and taste, and even though they were dried, they were fresh, if you know what I mean? The cooked until plump and with bite. I was thrilled with them and saved the rest of my stash for this week.
I soaked them overnight. They were looking lovely. Then I put in some bicarb, as is the Ottolenghi technique, I stirred vigorously over heat for 3 minutes, added the water, and got back to work, planning to return and check them half an hour later.
4 hours later I noticed a bit of a smell. Not much, just a little. I had been so absorbed in work I had completely forgotten my chickpeas, but they were still in shape, just, with a tiny bite. Ok, hummus it had to be.
But what with my hummus? Time for a fridge forage. Cauliflower, yes! With pine nuts. No pine nuts, what do I have instead? Almonds! Perfect. And so a new favourite dish was born.
Hummus recipe adapted from Ottolenghi
Recipe: Hummus with Paprika Cauliflower and Almonds
Serves 4 – adapt accordingly although don’t reduce the hummus, just save the leftovers for later
250g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in double their volume of cold water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
270g light tahini paste
4tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
100ml ice cold water
1 cauliflower,leaves removed and cut into florets
75g blanched almonds (or other nut of your choice)
1 tbsp paprika (smoked Spanish is nice, or Hungarian)
light oil for frying
fresh coriander leaves or flat leaf parsley, to serve
extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on top
Start with your hummus. Drain the chickpeas following their overnight soaking. Place a medium saucepan on a high heat and add the drained chickpeas and bicarbonate of soda . Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add 1.5 litres of fresh water and bring to the boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas can cook from anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes, or longer depending on the type of freshness. Once done, they will be very tender, breaking easily when pressed between your thumb and forefinger, but not quite mushy.
Drain the chickpeas in a colander with large holes, brushing off any remaining skins that have flaked off. Reserve 4 tbsp of the chickpeas for a garnish (I forgot to do this, as you can see).You should have about 600g now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. With the machine still running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic and 1 ½ tsp of salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water, and allow it to mix until you get a very smooth and creamy paste, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the hummus into a bowl, cover the surface with cling film, and let it rest for 30 minutes. If not using straight away, refrigerate until needed (it will be good for 3 days) and take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving.
While the hummus is resting, prepare your cauliflower. Heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the cauliflower, stirring occasionally until starting to brown. Add the nuts for a further couple of minutes, and then the paprika. Toss carefully ensuring there are no clumps, stir gently for another couple of minutes, and you are done. Season with sea salt to taste.
Per portion, put some hummus in a bowl, with a well in the centre (I like to do this with a spoon, and flick it at the end so there is a ridge). Place the cauliflower mixture in the middle and garnish with your herb. Drizzle a little olive oil to finish.
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