Not only is hummus a classic spread beloved in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel, but versions of it seem to appear in every supermarket refrigerator case here in the United States. It has become the perfect appetizer and probably is lunch for many a person trapped at a desk. Serve hummus with warm pita bread or spears of cucumber, radish, carrot, and green onion. It also can be a rich and creamy garnish for falafel.
Put the chickpeas in a
Pulse in enough cold water to achieve a spreadable consistency and season with salt to taste. If you are serving it right away, spoon the hummus onto a shallow plate and smooth it with a spoon or spatula. Sprinkle with the olive oil, paprika, parsley, and toasted pine nuts. Serve with the pita bread. If you make the hummus hours in advance, the mixture will thicken as it stands, so you will need to thin it with the reserved cooking liquid to regain the proper consistency.
© 2002 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.