Friday, April 16, 2010

Hummus Plates

This past week has been all about my hummus plates! It's a concept that I discovered three years ago while living in Richmond, VA. It was probably during the time that I first became pescetarian considering I was dining out at one of my favorite pizza joints in the city, Sette. I will never forget the symphony of flavors that I experienced while eating that dish. The warm and smooth hummus contrasted perfectly with the robust flavor of the olive oil. The fresh tomato juices were like a midsummer's night fireworks show in my mouth. The cucumbers were cool and crisp. The red onions were crunchy and potent. The olives and feta cheese were sharp and salty. And, the pepperoncinis were juicy and sweet.

The thought to do hummus plates actually came to me by chance earlier this week: I returned from my weekend trip to DC with a healthy appetite and a limited supply of groceries in my apartment. After a few moments of thought and frustration, I decided to go with hummus for some protein. I didn't have much left so I decided to do a mix of hummus, olive oil and pita bread a la Italian restaurant (crusty bread and olive oil). It turned out to be amazing as I heated the pita bread and added fresh ground black pepper and coarse sea salt to the olive oil mix. And voila! It hit me then and there that I should do hummus plates. The rest is history.

Hummus plates are inexpensive, really easy to make and are ready in no time. They can be made in the style of a vegetable platter with the hummus as a dip or they can be built as a salad. I personally prefer to build mine as salad. I start with a heaping mound of hummus as my base. Then, I add tabouleh and a generous pour of olive oil. Next, I add chopped tomatoes, feta cheese and olives. I finish the salad off with some fresh ground black pepper and a few sprinkles of coarse sea salt. If I'm motivated enough, I like to make falafel for a little something extra (tonight, I decided to blacken some sardines and the salad turned out great). Then, you eat the salad using the pita bread (I recommend heating it in the microwave for 30-45 seconds or warming it in the oven is even better). This salad is meant to be eaten dip style. Tear off small pieces of the pita bread and then scoop up the salad to eat and enjoy.

Hummus plates can be made with a wide variety of ingredients: eggplant, artichoke, eggs, chicken, steak, falafel, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.

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