In supermarkets across the country, hummus is slowly becoming as ubiquitous as bagels. Americans are discovering that this healthy Middle Eastern treat makes the perfect party dip, appetizer and sandwich spread.
But in Israel, this flavorful mixture of mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic is often the centerpiece of the meal, the main course at breakfast or lunch. And finding the perfect hummus is an obsession.
In Israel, guides can be found touting the best place to find the perfect hummus, and books and blogs compare the Jerusalem hummus to the chunkier Galilean versions. Toppings even range from foie gras to eggs or mushrooms.
To make the perfect hummus, chefs have gone so far as to require that the chickpeas they use are picked at a precise time of day.
Although most hummus in Israel is traditional, a few noted chefs have created their own unique versions. Chef Tomar Niv replaces chickpeas with beets.
Join the Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership and learn how to cook Israeli cuisine. The Israeli Melting Pot, featuring chef Faith Wolfe, begins Jan. 7. Email Stephanie Hague at firstname.lastname@example.org.