Double Dips

Two recipes in one post again this week because neither feels substantial enough to justify a post in itself. There are countless possible variations upon both of these dips and you should feel free to experiment. As a snack or appetizer they can be accompanied by raw vegetables, toast, pitta bread or tortilla chips. They can also be wheeled out, along with tsatsiki, as a sauce to accompany a Greek meal or as part of a mezze selection. Both recipes make the equivalent of two supermarket-sized pots.

Hummus
&
Aubergine Caviar

Hummus

The debate over the origin – not to mention the spelling – of hummus is probably as old as hummus itself. The Greeks like to claim it as their own, but the word is Arabic in origin and the dish is found as a staple throughout the middle east and north Africa. Simple, cheap and nutritious, this recipe makes the perfect vegetarian snack because the tahini and chickpeas form a complete protein combination. 

Ingredients

1 tin chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp tahini paste
50ml olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt, pepper & cayenne pepper

Method

Drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid. Place chickpeas, garlic, tahini and half the chickpea liquid in the food processor. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil and lemon. If the texture is not loose enough, add more of the chickpea liquid or olive oil. Season to taste with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and more lemon juice if you prefer it sharp. 

Aubergine Caviar

This is the family version that evolved over our long summers in Hungary. The Hungarians call it padlizsánkrém; in Transylvania it’s vinete; for the Romanians, with the addition of peppers and tomatoes it becomes zacusca; while the Lebanese add tahini to turn it into baba ganoush. 

Ingredients

2 medium-large aubergines
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 spring onions, roughly chopped
Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
50ml olive oil
Lemon juice or vinegar to sharpen
Salt & pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C / 180 (fan). Slash the aubergines a couple of times to allow air to escape, then roast for 45-60 minutes until really soft. Allow to cool slightly. Once you can handle them, slice into the slashes to expose the flesh, then tip, flesh down, into a colander to cool and drain for 15 minutes. Scoop out the flesh into the bowl of a food processor and add the garlic, spring onions, parsley, salt and pepper. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil and whizz to blend. Check seasoning and sharpen to taste with a squeeze of lemon or a dash of vinegar before giving it a final whizz.

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