For this spicy, hummus-inspired vegetarian spread, Nicolaus Balla uses the sunflower, an abundant crop in Hungary, in three forms: the seeds, the oil and the sweet, crunchy tuber of the sunchoke (a variety of sunflower). The result is an unusual, nutty and luscious spread that’s fantastic with fresh vegetables.
Slideshow:Delicious Party Dips
Recipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks
1 cup roasted unsalted shelled sunflower seeds (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons hot Hungarian paprika
1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
Sliced tomatoes, grape tomatoes, Hungarian wax peppers, bell peppers, cucumbers and scallions, for serving
How to Make It
Step 1 make the spread
Preheat the oven to 375°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the sunchokes with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender; let cool completely.
Step 2 make the spread
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened and just starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Scrape the onion and garlic into a food processor and let cool.
Step 3 make the spread
Add the sunflower seeds and the cooled sunchokes to the food processor and puree. Add the lemon juice, paprika, serrano, onion powder, honey and the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and puree until nearly smooth; season with salt and pepper. Scrape the spread into a bowl.
Step 4 prepare the vegetables
In a small bowl, whisk the oil with the lemon juice, vinegar, sugar and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables on plates or a platter, drizzle the vinaigrette on top and serve with the sunflower spread.
The sunflower spread can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
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