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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Legume Love

I just got started on blogging a few months ago for our family. None of my family are really as into food as I am, and frankly find my foodiness slightly disturbing at times. "She has an entire bookcase of nothing but cookbooks and binders of recipes? What is wrong with her!" and "Why can't you just buy french bread like a normal person?" are refrains I have often heard from loved ones who think I am a little whacked in the head.

I admit, I have always been a bit obsessed over what goes in a certain dish, or reading cookbooks, or how things taste one way when combined with other ingredients, and completely different when done another way. Sigh... they do all think I am weird. So, onward to having my own food blog.

Why? Because I have to share my alleged "weirdness" with others who think like me. I'm not gettin' that at home, therefore, I look to you, dear foodie friends around the world, to be that part of my life. Then, perhaps only then, will some of the strange looks I get when I bring the homemade tortilla chips ("she made chips?!") not sting quite so much.

On to the "My Legume Love Affair" Event. This event is presented by The Well Seasoned Cook . It is funny that this is my first blog event, because, frankly, I do have a bit of a love affair with the lovely legume going. Always have. Black, green split, pinto, red kidney, cannellini, etc. I love 'em all. So, in honor of the legume and this event, I decided to make my version of hummus. I came up with this recipe a few years ago after tasting a similar idea at California Pizza Kitchen. While theirs is spicer and not baked, mine takes a different twist, adding a parmesan and bread crumb topping and baking in the oven til hot and puffy, and if I do say so myself (and I do), delicious.

It has just enough fresh rosemary to really bring out that flavor without overpowering the other flavors. I like just the slight hint of heat in mine. Feel free to get crazy and adjust what you like. That is why I love this dip. I serve mine with homemade piadine (an Italian flatbread) for dipping, but there really isn't any limit on what you can do. Use what you love or whatever grabs your imagination, but a warm flatbread with a little brushed olive oil and salt sprinkled on it is by far my fave.

Oh, and the loved ones that think I'm obsessed, love to go to town getting their share of the spoils when this is on the counter. It never does seem to actually make it further than that as soon as it is done! Typical, huh. ; )

The pictures really don't do it justice (oh, I can't wait to get a new camera!), but this comes out a beautiful golden brown and the hint of the salt on the piadine is divine! Enjoy (I did)!


For the Hummus:

1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained, 1/4 cup juices reserved
1 T tahini
1 T fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1 T fresh rosemary, stemmed
3 T freshly grated parmesan
1/8 t freshly ground red pepper flakes
1 pinch kosher salt, or to taste
1 T extra virgin olive oil

For the topping:

1/4 cup dry italian-style breadcrumbs
1/4 c freshly grated parmesan
1-2 t extra virgin olive oil
Combine the parmesan and breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Slowly add enough of the oil to help the crumbs get slightly wet and sticking together.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Farenheit).
Place all the Hummus ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. with the processor on drizzle in the olive oil and continue to process until well combined. Pour the mixture into a small baking dish that has been brushed with a little olive oil (I use an 8-inch square).

Sprinkle the top with the bread crumb mixture and place the dish in the preheated oven. Bake 20 minutes, or until slightly puffed and the top is golden brown.

Serve warm with the piadine.

(NOTE: You can also skip the baking and serve this at room temperature with a little more olive oil drizzled on top if you like.)

PIADINE (NapaStyle, Michael Chiarello)
(Makes about 2 pounds dough, enough for six 8- or 9-inch piadine)

1 envelope active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
About 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
1 cup cool water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons gray salt (I use regular fine sea salt or kosher)

Whisk together the yeast, lukewarm water, and 1/2 cup of the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Dust the top lightly with flour, cover the bowl with a tea towel, and leave the sponge to rise until the flour dusting "cracks," showing the yeast is alive and well, about 20 minutes.

Add 3 cups of the flour, the 1 cup cool water, the olive oil, and the salt. Start kneading at low speed, then increase the speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed to produce a slightly moist and soft dough. Knead with the dough hook attachment until smooth and silky and the dough adheres to the hook.

Dust the dough lightly with flour and, using a pastry scraper, scrape it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly, folding the dough over on itself. Shape into a ball, flatten slightly, dust lightly with flour, cover with a towel, and leave to rise on a floured surface (or in a bowl) until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch down and portion into six balls. Roll the balls one at a time into an 8- to 9-inch round and grill as described below.

Wipe some olive oil on a grill pan and preheat over burners until it begins to smoke. Adjust heat to medium. Brush the hand rolled piadine forms with a little olive oil before cooking then lay on the hot grill. As the dough begins to "bake" and turns golden brown on one side, carefully turn over to finish the cookery. Season the cooked side with a little salt (I use a little kosher salt, or sea salt). When the piadine are golden and slightly crisp on both sides transfer to plate.

(NOTE: If you want to make the dough ahead or not use it all at once then after it has risen, punch the dough down, wrap, and freeze for up to 1 month if not using immediately. Defrost and let rise in a large bowl in the refrigerator. When ready, bake in the grill pan as usual.)


Susan said...

Holly, this is lovely. That little touch of rosemary must bind and enhance the flavors just enough. And you made piadine to go with it! I have no problem with your "weirdness!" Thanks for your entry!

Laurie Constantino said...

Holly, both these recipes were terrific! Although I didn't bake the hummus, I really enjoyed the all the flavors in the beans. Thanks for two wonderful treats!

Nupur said...

How creative to bake hummus with that gorgeous topping...this looks mouthwatering! Kudos on your creativity.

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