Piedmontese hummus

The flavours of Northeast Italy are mixed with those of the Mediterranean in a tasty vegan starter

14-10-2013

I’d say this dish was created by chance: I wanted to prepare hummus but I had no tahina. However, I had some hazelnuts, the Tonde di Langa variety I had received from a Piedmontese student. So I mixed some chickpea puree with some “butter” made with the dried fruits. The result was very-rich-in-protein dish. In smaller doses, such as those in the following recipe, it can be a perfect entrée. In larger ones, it can work as a vegan main dish. From the nutritional point of view, it would perfectly work with some whole-wheat rye bread (but it would loose its gluten free nature).

Recipe for 6 people

INGREDIENTS
for the chickpea puree
300 g cooked chickpeas*
50 g peeled hazelnuts
50 g extra virgin olive oil
hazelnut oil
sprigs of wild fennel
a pinch of Indian pepper
the cooking water from the chickpeas

for the hazelnut butter
250 g lightly toasted peeled hazelnuts
250 g peeled almonds
450 g chickpea cooking water
50 g extra virgin olive oil

METHOD
Using a Bimby processor, blend the chickpeas at the highest speed for 1 minute; strain the mixture using a metal sieve and keep to a side. Soak the hazelnuts overnight, slice them with a very sharp knife. Toast the hazelnuts strips in the oven for 4 minutes at 180°C.

With the Bimby processor, blend the almonds and hazelnuts at the highest speed for a few seconds. Add the cooking water of the chickpeas, previously mixed with the olive oil, and from time to time remove the mixture from the internal edges of the Bimby processor. The final result should be a smooth and slightly whipped mixture. Strain this in a metal sieve and keep to a side.

To prepare the hummus we need to mix 300 g of chickpea puree, 100 g of hazelnut butter and 50 g of extra virgin olive oil in a metal bowl. Finely mix the ingredients together, add salt to taste and leave in the fridge for at least an hour. Prepare some 70g spheres and roll them in the hazelnut slices. Keep them to a side. Warm up 200 g of chickpea cooking water, seasoned with salt, and using the minipimer processor, create a sort of slightly whipped foam.

Pour some whipped cooking water into the plates and delicately place the chickpea and hazelnuts spheres on top. Season with a few drops of hazelnut oil, a pinch of pepper and decorate with the herbs.

Simone Salvini, a vegan chef from Florence

Simone Salvini, a vegan chef from Florence

*cooking the chickpeas
Soak 500 g of dried chickpeas overnight. Drain them and move them to a casserole tin with a thick base, cover with 2 lt of water (better if spring water) and add 4 bay leaves and a few green pepper corns. Cover with a hermetic lid and cook on a moderate flame for 1 hour. Leave the legumes to cool in their water.