By Susanne Fletcher
Special to CSMS MagazineHummus variants are found abroad, but most Turkish recipes are made withChickpeas and Tahini. Hummus means “chickpea” in Arabic, and it is taken cautiously in the Middle East, where people argue over whether the chickpeas should be peeled before pureeing or whether cooling the tahini destroys its texture.Most chefs tend to leave out the chickpeas and experiment with ingredients such as white beans, avocados, pumpkins, squash, and of course the parsnips. This type of technique breaks all the regulations since hummus is not hummus without the chickpeas. Customers however, understand why they call this recipe hummus when they taste the dish. Chefs puree parsnips in place of the chickpeas, but you can flavor the dish with traditional garlic, lemon, cumin and tahini. The parsnip’s smooth texture is great for hummus because it is creamy just like chickpeas, but has double the flavor.In New England, parsnips are usually the first spring crop, even before spinach, nettles, or fiddleheads. Farmers like to remove the parsnips after they’ve been chilled over the winter because the freezing ground makes the sugars more intense. The sweetness of the parsnips paired with the sour, sweet tahini and earthly cumin is just divine.Most people prefer the dramatic visual contrast of the white parsnips puree holding the dark tahini sauce, but if this procedure seems too complicated to you, combine the tahini with the parsnips before serving.If you attempt to serve parsnips hummus as an entree dish, try pairing it with a Falanghina from Italy; the flavors in the wine have just enough sourness to set off the tahini and parsnip.
Ingredients for the recipe
1-pound parsnips (about 6 medium or 4 large). Peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks1 tablespoon chopped garlic (about 3 large cloves)¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil2 teaspoons ground cuminSalt and pepper to taste½ recipe tahini sauce (recipe follows)2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Instructions on how the recipe is made
- In a medium saucepan, cover the parsnips with water and bring them to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and smooth the parsnips for about 20 minutes, until they are very tender when squeezed with a pair of tongs or pierced in a colander, reserving one tablespoon of the cooking liquid or water.
- Transfer the parsnips to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Puree the parsnips with the cooking liquid, garlic, lemon juice, butter, olive oil, and cumin until over smooth and soft, for about 2 to 3 minutes, to scrape the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
- Season the puree with the salt and pepper. Stir the puree into a serving bowl and cool it to room temperature, for about sixty minutes.
- Use the back of a large serving spoon to create a well in the center of the puree, big enough to hold about ½ cup. Spoon the tahini sauce into the center of the well. Garnish with parsley and serve. (Source: Food and Wine magazine)
Also see Blueberry Meringue TartsEating right is all that matters, not how muchHave you tried grilled turkey burgers with avocado mayonnaise?Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Avocado SalsaNote: Susanne Fletcher is a restaurant chef de cuisine in Palo Alto, California. She wrote this piece for CSMS Magazine.