Lemonized Asparagus Hummus

I used to think asparagus was disgusting. Slimy and stinky, usually served with cheez sauce (okay, probably real cheese but it looked a lot like cheez-whiz)- that was the asparagus of my childhood. My niece used to eat it straight from the can which might be the only thing more disgusting than covered in bright yellow sauce after being boiled to death.

Sometime in the last 5 or so years, I changed my tune. I believe this reversal occurred in a restaurant where I was served some asparagus dish, roasted perhaps, that I chose to eat because I was that hungry. A fortuitous hunger as it turned out to be unlike any previous exposure- it was tasty! Not slimy! And definitely not covered with cheesy sauce.

I do, however, carry the gene that causes an odor to be found after consuming asparagus. In an odd sort of way, I am intrigued by the phenomenon because it happens within a short time of eating, far quicker than a full digestion would take. Fortunately my husband doesn’t seem particularly sensitive to it because he’s a stinky boy as it is (kiss kiss honey, love you!!!). On a marginally related note, I am very glad I don’t have the genetic abnormality that makes cilantro taste like soap. Because if I didn’t cook with and eat cilantro, I am not sure Chris would have married me!

At the height of spring asparagus season, we’ve been eating a lot of roasted spears and occasionally steamed ones. I especially like to toss barely steamed asparagus tips with top-notch Parmesan cheese, fresh cracked pepper, good extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Last week, I saw this recipe on a food blog I rather enjoy and decided to make it at my first opportunity. Then Chris came home with the biggest bunch of asparagus I’ve ever seen- a good 8 inch diameter bundle.

Despite the overflow of asparagus, I still halved the recipe because Chris, while liking asparagus, claims to strongly dislike hummus. I do not entirely believe him but nonetheless, even half a recipe makes a whole lotta hummus.

The recipe, by way of Tammy @ Food on the Food* is actually found here at Yankee Magazine along with a recipe for pita chips to accompany.

Lemonized Asparagus Hummus

What I used

1 1/2 cup fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 7 1/2 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well (small cans found at Meijer!)
1 medium clove garlic
1 Tbsp. tahini, sesame paste
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of half-lemon plus a bit more
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil + 1 Tbsp
salt & pepper

What I did

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Toss asparagus with 1 Tbsp olive oil and roast 15 minutes. Some spots of caramelization shoudl be apparent but the spears are still bright green.

3. Combine asparagus (set aside a number of tips for prettying up the bowl if you want to take a picture), chickpeas, tahini, 1/2 lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, a pinch of salt and couple grinds of pepper in a food processor**, puree until fairly smooth

4. Add olive oil, preferably slowly while food processor is running but that’s not required.

5. Taste and adjust salt/pepper and lemon zest to taste.

For best results, refrigerate one hour or longer to allow flavors to meld. To serve all pretty, top with a few asparagus tips and any remaining lemon zest. Eat with pita, veggies or um, you might just try a fingerful straight up. I don’t recommend this if you are sharing or presenting this as a party dip. Also, spread on a flatbread, combine with fresh tomatoes and cukes, maybe some falafel and call it lunch.

*I do like the Food on the Food blog but I struggle with feeling of envy when I read about the CSA and the Fish CSA and the whole living on the Eastern Seaboard thing. Its the kind of trigger that makes me nostalgic for our honeymoon in Vermont and sometimes leads me to check off states like Massachusetts, Maine and the like when I look at job postings (and I’m not even looking for a new job here!)

**I initially tried this in our blender. A very nice blender it is but not suited to blending this thick, relatively dry mixture. We have one of those $20 single speed food choppers rather than a nice fo-pro but it did the job, albeit at a slowish rate.


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