This past year I've been hearing all this talk about a particular cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking--and particularly about the amazing Zahav's hummus that Chef Michael Solomonov creates. I love hummus and love how it is a vehicle for a lot of different flavor combinations. Growing up, I just saw hummus as something you sprinkled some feta cheese and drizzled some olive oil over. Dipping a soft and fluffy pita bread into it and calling it a day.
Then, back in New Orleans, chef Alon Shaya opened up his famed restaurant Shaya, which has this dish on the menu of lamb ragú with hummus. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks delicious! So, I finally took the dive to make some hummus. No canned garbanzo beans or hummus in containers, I wanted to make it from scratch, but the Zahav way.
What intrigued me about the recipe was the addition of baking soda! Yes, baking soda. Which is part of the sucess for the smooth and creamy Zahav's hummus. You soak the chickpeas overnight in baking soda and it raises the pH and helps to soften the outer shell. If anyone has ever cooked chickpeas, they seem to never get soft, like, they take all day to cook! But, with this method, the cooking time went by rather quickly. So, you soak with a teaspoon of baking soda and you cook with a teaspoon of baking soda in the water.
When it comes to seasoning hummus, I tend to like garlicky and lemony. But it has to be in balance. This recipe calls for you to pulse the garlic (unpeeled) in lemon juice to make garlic infused juice. Pulse and then smash the cloves down in a strainer to extract as much liquid as possible. Also, it calls for cumin, which I love. I added more salt than the recipe called for, but you can change the amounts to cater to your preference.
When trying to figure out what topping to go with, of course, shrimp was the winner. I love seafood. Growing up, seafood was everywhere. Fresh from out of the Gulf of Mexico, reasonably priced, and always in dishes my parents cooked. Instead of Creole seasonings, I wanted something different. I love curry spices and the bold flavor it brings. So, I opted to roast shrimp, onions and kalamata olives in curry powder, pimenton de espelette and smoked paprika.
Zahav's Hummus With Curry Roasted Shrimp & Olives
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 2 teaspoons baking soda, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (can use more)
- 2/3 cups tahini
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (may need more depending on taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup red onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup pitted black olives
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pimenton de espelette (can substitute Chile flakes)
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Place the chickpeas in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the baking soda and cover with water. Make sure to use enough water because the chickpeas will double in volume. Soak the chickpeas overnight at room temperature. Drain the next day.
In a large pot, place the chickpeas, remaining teaspoon of baking soda and cover with cold water by at least 4 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any scum that rises. Simmer for about 1 hour, until the chickpeas are completely tender, they can be overcooked and falling apart. Drain and place aside.
Process the garlic, lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of salt in a food processor until coarsely pureed. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Strain the garlic mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing on solids to release as much liquid as possible. Take liquid, tahini, and cumin and pulse to combine. While motor is running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of ice water until the mixture is very smooth. Add in the chickpeas and puree until the hummus is smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss onions, olives, shrimp, curry powder, pimenton, smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt and olive oil into a bowl. Mix and spread onto a baking sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes.
Spoon some of the hummus into a bowl or on a plate and top with the shrimp mixture. Garnish with some more smoked paprika and freshly chopped parsley. Serve with some crusty bread or pita.