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.
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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.
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.
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.
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