Monday, December 19, 2011

Provençal Hummus

This is something of a cross between a tapenade and a hummus - an olivey, lemony, garlicy spread that packs serious flavor.  I love tapenade, but you can't really go to town on it because it's highly caloric, salty and fatty.  It's one of those things that has to be used sparingly, lest you develop gout on the spot.  This dip, introduced to me by good friend and cousin, Sylvie, takes the ingredients of tapenade and spreads them out with the addition of black and kidney beans.  She made us a batch and promptly had to make a second because we ate it like hungry beasts.

The original recipe calls for anchovies and I have to say - if you're a little bit adventurous and not a vegetarian - you really should try throwing one or two in.  Too many and they quickly become overpowering.  As it stands, this is already a very rich spread, and as usual - if you find the use of raw garlic too intense, try roasting your garlic first. 


1.5 cups cooked kidney beans*
1.5 cups cooked black beans*
1 cup kalamata olives
2 T capers
2-4 cloves of garlic
Juice of 1-2 lemons
1-3 T fresh herbs - sage/thyme/oregano (optional)
1-2 T olive oil to finish

* This is approximately one 19 oz can

  • Start by rinsing everything.  These are salty ingredients, so it helps to rinse off any excess salt that you can.  If you're using canned beans, empty both cans into a colander and rinse them thoroughly.  This will also decrease the flatulence factor.
  • Pit the olives.  If you've never pitted olives before, it's easy and fun and you can get cheaper olives this way.  Just place one under the flat blade of your knife and smack it with the heel of your hand.  That'll loosen the pit so that you can easily pick it out.
  • Process:  Start by grinding up the garlic.  You want to do this first, or you may end up getting big chunks of unprocessed garlic in the final product.
  • Add all the rest of the ingredients and process until you get to the desired consistency.  You may need to add more lemon juice, splash of water, or a bit of olive oil if it's too thick. 
  • Taste and adjust seasoning, adding extra herbs etc. if you like.   The flavors will meld and develop as it sits, so try to make it an hour or so before you want to serve it.

Have I mentioned yet that most of my cooking strategies are aimed at making food that I can dive into without feeling terribly guilty because I know I'm going to eat a ton of whatever it is that I've made??  That's why I try to keep the amount of olive oil at a minimum, just finishing with a drizzle on top to serve. 

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