No one wants to spend all their time in the kitchen when dinner guests arrive. This quick and delicious appetizer can be made a day ahead or put together quickly to impress even the pickiest eater.
Makes roughly 2 1/2 cups
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 loaf day old crusty bread
2 cups canned chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons tahini
1 medium clove garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup hot water
1 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange walnuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, checking frequently.
Heat ½ cup of olive oil in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes, and heat for 3-5 minutes. Set aside and let cool. Once cool, strain the flakes from the oil.* Slice the bread into bite size pieces. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in sauté pan. Toss bread in pan, ensuring bread gets mostly covered in oil olive. Fry bread for about 5-7 or until almost crispy. Let croutons drain and cool on paper towel lined plate or bowl.
Once cooled, remove the skins from the walnuts. Food process until they are a sandy texture. Add most of the garbanzos, 1 or 2 tablespoons of the red chili oil (oil only, no flakes), garlic, tahini and lemon juice. Process until smooth. Drizzle in the water a bit at a time and puree more, until the hummus is creamy and billowy. Let the food processor run for a minute or so at this point, it incorporates air into the puree and makes it a nice texture. Taste, adjust the seasoning - more salt, more lemon juice, etc. Serve in a shallow bowl, drizzled with plenty of the remaining oil and red pepper flakes. Add any remaining garbanzo beans at this point as well as a bit of chopped cilantro for the final touch.
*Remaining chili oil keeps in air tight container for about 2 weeks. Can be used to stir-fry, fry eggs, or to spice up potato hash, anywhere you would like a little extra kick!
Recipe modified from 101 cookbooks www.101cookbooks.com