Do you believe in love at first sight? That moment when the whole world shuts out except for the single object of your complete and undivided affection? It’s like a black hole that sucks you in, then overtakes your entire existential self, sending you spinning in a dopamine induced orbit until your knees knock and tunnel vision takes over. The sound is off. You’ve lost all visual contact and the only thing you know to be true is this uncontrollable gravitational pull towards this feeling.
Oops, I meant do you believe in love at first bite? All the above rules still apply. For me, there isn’t much difference between love at first sight and love at first bite. That’s why when I visited Portland, OR, my home away from home, back in August, I made a beeline for the hottest spot on the restaurant scene, Tusk. With a blush pink theme in their branding and general vibe, Tusk feels like a big fat slice of LA was delicately placed right there on E Burnside. Pale and pretty details are anchored by a larger than life print of Keith Richards floating flawlessly in a pool. It dominates the wall space over the bar. I was smitten the moment I spotted Keith, but what really did me in was that first taste of the creamy dreamy hummus from Tusk. It got me again when I sheepishly came back for another hit less than a week later.
After back to back visits and trying damn near everything on the menu, I could not shut up about the food. Especially that creamy dreamy hummus. I was like a giddy school girl in puppy love, telling anyone who would listen about all of the colorful, flavor packed dishes. I told strangers at bars to go there, and described every bite to my friends back home in CA. Whenever I saw someone with a big bushy beard in flannel looking remotely Portlandian, I’d stop them and tell them to go. Served with a slightly tangy, ultra-fluffy pita bread that is anything but flat, it sent head and my heart spinning. The dukkah is downright delightful. And don’t even get me started on the salads. So fresh, and so real.
The original recipe comes from the brilliant mastermind/Executive Chef behind Tusk, Sam Smith. Lucky for us, he’s shared his silky smooth hummus recipe and hot tips on getting that picture perfect hummus swirl in the July 2017 issue of Bon Appetit. In my recipe here for Creamy Dreamy Hummus, I’ve adapted his version just slightly by loading up on the lemon juice (I like it bright and zesty) and topping it off with spicy chile oil, fresh parsley, and toasted nigella seeds for a nutty crunch. I whiz it up in a food processor until it’s light and airy and as smooth as silk. I’ve already made a few batches of this snackable, silky hummus and I just can’t get enough. I like to serve it with a piping hot stack of my Pita Bread and a side sipper of my favorite OR Pinot Noir Rosé by Acrobat.
Alright, I’ll stop acting like that one friend who dominates girls night by talking incessantly about the new hunk she met on Bumble. But just promise me one thing? If you live in Portland or plan to visit soon, you’ll pop in for dinner at Tusk. And maybe if you want to experience the magic carpet ride from the comfort of your own home, make this version the Creamy Dreamy Hummus. Just prepare your head and your heart, because you’re bound to fall in love at first bite.
This creamy dreamy hummus has a lot of flavor with minimal ingredients & effort. The light & airy, silky smooth texture is what hummus dreams are made of.
- 3/4 cup dried chickpeas
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 garlic cloves - 2 smashed, 1 finely grated
- 1 dried red chile - such as chile de árbol
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup lemon juice - freshly squeezed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley - fresh
- 1-2 tablespoons nigella seeds - aka black sesame seeds (or white sesame seeds)
- spicy chile oil - to taste
Combine chickpeas and baking soda in a medium bowl and pour in cold water to cover by 2". Cover and let sit 8–12 hours.
Drain chickpeas, rinse, and place in a large saucepan along with the 2 smashed garlic cloves, chile, and bay leaf. Pour in cold water to cover by 2". Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer gently, skimming foam occasionally from surface, until chickpeas are falling apart, 35–45 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1 cup cooking liquid. Remove and discard garlic, chile, and bay leaf.
Combine grated garlic, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a food processor and let sit until the bite in garlic mellows, about 5 minutes. Add tahini and ½ cup ice water and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly stream in oil. Season with another 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Add chickpeas and cumin and process until hummus is very smooth, light, and creamy, at least 2 minutes. It will tighten up as it cools, so it should be loose to the point of being pourable at this stage. If it looks thick, thin with chickpea cooking liquid, pulsing in by the tablespoonful until you reach the right consistency.
Taste hummus and season with salt and more lemon juice if needed.
To serve, spread it on a pretty plate and give it that perfect swirl. Top with hot chile oil, chopped parsley and nigella seeds to taste.
* This smooth and silky hummus recipe was adapted from the original recipe by Sam Smith of Tusk in Portland, OR featured in Bon Appétit magazine.
* see notes in blog post above for that swoonworthy swirl technique.
* Serve with fresh baked, homemade pita bread.
* Hummus can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.