Hummus with Smoked Paprika Butter and Za’atar

Minneapolis chef Sameh Wadi offers several variations on hummus at his modern Mediterranean restaurant, Saffron. One of the best is the Turk, embellished with pools of melted paprika butter and the Middle Eastern spice blend za’atar. Make sure the hummus is room temperature, so the warm butter doesn’t harden.

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: makes 5 cups
  • Time(Other): plus overnight soaking

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  • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas (12 ounces), soaked overnight and drained
  • Salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup tahini (8 ounces)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar (see Note)
  • Pita chips, for serving
  • Warm pita bread, for serving
  • Crudités, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. In a saucepan, cover the chickpeas with 4 inches of water; bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, skimming, until the chickpeas begin to break down, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Season with salt and let cool in the water; drain, reserving 1 cup of the liquid.

  2. Transfer the chickpeas and reserved cooking liquid to a food processor. Add the garlic and lemon juice and puree until smooth. Add the olive oil and tahini and process until creamy. Season the hummus with salt and mound on a platter, making deep canyons with the back of a spoon.

  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat until the milk solids just begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in both paprikas and cook for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a heatproof cup and let the solids settle to the bottom. Pour off the clear butter, discarding the solids. Drizzle the warm butter on the hummus and sprinkle with the za’atar. Serve with pita chips.


Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend made with sesame seeds, sumac and herbs, is available at specialty food stores and Middle Eastern markets.

Contributed By Published August 2012

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