Until last weekend I had never seen a fresh chickpea. Sure, I’d bought fancy dried chickpeas and rehydrated them for hummus and other purposes but it had never occurred to me that the fresh little beans (they are garbanzo BEANS after all) might be available to purchase…and at the sad Key Food on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn Heights, no less. A sad little crate propped up on the floor by another crate promised $3.99 per pound for small green waxy pods. I bought a pound and it sat in fridge for over a week.
On a hot Sunday like today when going outside makes every pour on my body produce sweat I had no intention of leaving the apartment (except to photograph food for you my readers on the patio). So inside I sat peeling pods of chickpeas to make barely a cup of hummus, but hummus that was so fresh and delicious it was entirely worth it. Instead of a sandy beige, this hummus was a luminescent pale green and tasted somewhere between a summer pea mash and the perfect creamy hummus from Sahadi’s.
I tasted a fresh chickpea after it had steamed for 20 minutes and was surprised at the flavor: not much different from a canned chickpea but bursting with just-picked freshness (even though these had probably sat around for weeks before I ate them). I whirred the beans around in a food processor with my hummus regulars: garlic, tahini, olive oil, water and salt for a few minutes and out came a pretty green dip. Of course, this recipe works well with canned chickpeas, but it just won’t be the same.
Fresh Chickpea Hummus
Makes about 1 cup
1 lb. fresh chickpeas in their shells
2 tablespoons tahini (Joya is the easiest brand to find)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil + a splash to finish
1 garlic clove
squeeze of lemon
Remove the chickpeas from their shells (yes, this is tedious).
Prepare a steamer basket over about 2 inches of water in a large pot with a lid. Bring to a boil and steam the chickpeas for 20 minutes. Remove and splash cold water on them and set aside to cool for an hour.
In a food processor (you must use something with a sharp blade to get the creamy consistency right) add the chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, salt, water and garlic clove and pulse a few times. Use a spatula to scrape the sides to get the chunks near the blade. Then process for at least 30 seconds, pausing to pulse. You should have a super creamy hummus with no chunks in 45-60 seconds. Add a splash more oil if your hummus isn’t creamy enough and more salt if you like. Serve in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and lemon. Dip whatever vegetables, breads or crackers you like.
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