Hummus is the most pliable of dishes. Native to the Levantine region of the Middle East, the humble dip made from chickpeas claims no national boundaries but roams freely among many countries, picking up flavors and local interpretations as it conquers new locales and befriends new chefs. Avocado hummus, a menu mainstay at California’s Farmshop restaurants, is the handiwork of Culinary Director Brian Reimer. Reimer reinvents Farmshop’s avocado hummus every season, adjusting the ingredients and the seasoning to reflect a culinary moment. He shares the secrets of Farmshop’s hummus to prepare this essential dish at home.
The Foundation Is Everything
Though Reimer’s avocado hummus changes with what ingredients are in the market, the hummus’ base of chickpeas and California-sourced avocados does not change. Reimer soaks the chickpeas for 12 hours, then cooks them with a pinch of baking soda until tender. Once cooked, Reimer chills the modest legume before blending with tahini, freshly pressed lemon juice, and a bit of neutral oil to help it spin.
Add Confited Garlic
Many hummus varieties are seasoned with raw, minced garlic which cuts through the creamy dip like nails on a chalkboard. Reimer takes a more subtle approach. “We use garlic confit,” he says. Whole garlic cloves are poached in olive oil until soft but not falling apart, yielding a kinder, gentler garlic, one with a punch wrapped in a velvet glove. Puree this confit into the hummus.
Vitamin C to the Rescue
The most familiar antioxidant, vitamin C, is a chef’s best friend for the same reason we all love antioxidants: It slows down the aging process. Known in the biz as ascorbic acid, vitamin C helps this avocado hummus hold its color and delay browning. Reimer adds it to the avocados after they’ve been chopped. “Even with a touch of ascorbic acid, the hummus only lasts about a day,” he advises.
Once the hummus is prepared, add it and fresh avocado to a blender. Reimer recommends a 60:40 ratio of hummus to avocado. “It’s a great, heart-healthy blend with lots of potassium and fiber,” says Reimer. Puree until any chunks have disappeared. Voilà, your avocado hummus is ready.
Take It to 11 with Toppings
Once you have mastered the basic avocado hummus recipe, it is time to experiment. Reimer recommends playing with texture and flavor until you find the ideal balance. “Look for foods that make you feel good and taste good,” he says. In this moment, that means Farmshop’s avocado hummus is topped with bright green, whole-smoked pistachios, fresh herbs (usually parsley and chives), and a bright salsa verde that layers green on green to flavorful effect. Pickled carrots and za’atar seeds add another dimension, tickling the palate and adding crunch to the dish. “It’s about providing a great hummus experience with great mouth-feel and some crunch,” says Reimer. “It makes for good eats.”
Header image courtesy of California Avocados.