As we come upon this long holiday weekend, what do we most need?
Without a doubt, we all need dips.
Whether for a party, potluck, beach day or simply hanging around appreciating your life, a well-made dip should serve you in good stead.
This one gets a head start with purchased hummus, available at most grocery stores, but we amp it up with a few special aromatics. They take it over the top to make a memorable appetizer worthy of your friends, family and the holiday.
The dip recipe comes to us from Fiona Afshar, a talented cook from Malibu. She taught a Persian cooking class recently at her lovely home, and I was lucky enough to attend and watch the magic in her kitchen. A natural cook, she stirs with a smile on her face, encouragement to her students to enjoy the process, and she visibly enjoys sharing the special flavors and culinary techniques of her culture.
I learned that hummus, already a treat all by itself, can ascend to a simply sublime appetizer with just a few Fiona tricks.
Lucky us, she’s willing to share.
Recipe: Hummus with Caramelized Onions and Portobello Mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 large or 2 small Portobello mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 (16-ounce) container plain hummus (she uses Trader Joe’s brand)
- Garnish: drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, an extra sprinkle of cumin and cayenne for the top
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and sauté over medium heat until they begin to soften and brown slightly, 7-10 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, garlic, cumin and cayenne and sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool. You can speed this up by turning the mixture out into a wide bowl, which gives it a larger surface area from which to throw off heat.
- When cool, mix onion-mushroom mixture into prepared hummus. Place into a pretty bowl for serving, drizzle top with olive oil and dust with additional cayenne and cumin.
- Serve with flatbread, pita bread cut into pieces, or baguette slices.
- Serves 6-8. (Or serves 2 girlfriends if they are sharing a bottle of wine!)
Recipe by Fiona Afshar.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Diet type: Vegetarian, vegan
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 6-8
Culinary tradition: Persian