Broccoli Rabe and Hummus Meze
Here is an appetizer, delicious and simple to prepare, in the tradition of mezethes (meze in the singular) that is eaten as a little snack or appetizer all over Greece. The elusive flavor here between the layers of hummus and broccoli rabe puree is smoked Spanish paprika, called pimentón. For a Middle Eastern flavor, substitute the beguiling spice of the Levant, tart and lemony sumac, which almost always tops hummus in the Eastern Mediterranean. Both complement broccoli rabe so well.
Recipe by Julia della Croce
Julia is one of America’s foremost authorities on Italian cooking. She is a James Beard Award winning author and has written over 15 cookbooks.
Broccoli Rabe Meze
- Half recipe pureed broccoli rabe
- Enough whole wheat flat breads such as naan or pita to make 2 dozen 2-inch triangles
- 1/2 pint home-made (see our recipe below) or purchased unflavored hummus
- Smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón), to taste
- Fine sea salt to taste
- Good extra-virgin olive oil to taste
Homemade Hummus (yields 1 pint):
- 4 ounces (about 1 cup dry weight) dried chickpeas
- 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 medium clove garlic, minced or passed through a garlic press
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1 medium organic lemon
- Ground cumin, hot paprika, or sumac for sprinkling
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Directions: Broccoli Rabe and Hummus Meze
2. Season with pimentón, salt, and olive oil.
3. Top with an equal amount of pureed broccoli rabe. Serve.
Directions: Homemade Hummus
1. Two days before you plan to make the hummus, pour the chickpeas into a bowl and pick them over carefully for any stones. Cover them in water and agitate them to shake out any impurities. Transfer them to a sieve and rinse them well in cold water.
2. Transfer the chickpeas to a bowl and add 4-5 inches of cold water to cover. Do not add salt until after the chickpeas are cooked. Soak overnight at room temperature, or chilled. Drain and rinse them and return them to the bowl with fresh cold water. Soak for another day. Drain and rinse them again.
3. Place the soaked chickpeas in an ample pot with the onion and four inches of cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat. Simmer for 1 hour, partially covered, skimming off any foam or loosened skins that float to the water surface. If it starts to dry out, add more water as needed. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and return them to the pot. Continue to cook them as before, until they are soft and mushy, another hour or so.
4. Use a strainer or skimmer to lift out the chickpeas. Transfer them to a bowl and reserve the cooking water. If you would like a velvety hummus, slip off and discard their skins. For a slightly grainier texture, leave the skins on.
5. Set aside a small handful of the chickpeas to garnish the hummus later. Transfer the rest of them to a food processor with 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water and the garlic. Engage the motor and blend well until smooth. Add the tahini, salt, and lemon juice. Blend until the hummus is light and almost fluffy, adding a little more cooking water if it is too thick. Taste for seasoning.
6. Transfer the hummus to a shallow serving bowl. Scatter the reserved whole chickpeas on the surface and sprinkle with the cumin, hot paprika, or sumac. Add a thread of the olive oil on top.
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