Saturday, February 18, 2012

Smoked Salmon Hummus

When you’re looking for healthy food that’s simple to prepare, it’s hard to beat home-made hummus. If it’s a delicious light meal you want, smoked salmon (which packs its own good collection of nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids) is a great way to go. And should a single food that combines both be what you seek, read on! Home-made Smoked Salmon Hummus works equally well for breakfast, for lunch, as an appetizer, healthy snack, or as a dip for breads, crackers or veggies that guests at your next gathering will love.

Hummus has been around in one form or another since at least the 13th century, and is found in most countries of the Middle East. It has become quite popular here in the United States as well. Typically made from tahini (which, in turn, is made from sesame seeds), chick peas, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil, it is widely considered a nutritionally well-rounded vegetarian dish. According to Wikipedia, hummus is a great source of iron, vitamins B6 and C, folate, protein, dietary fiber, and the amino acid methionine.

This recipe adds smoked salmon to the mix. (It is important to note that the term “smoked salmon” can refer to a number of products, depending on where you’re located; as used here, the term refers to the cured salmon fillet often called “lox” and that is generally associated with bagels.) Hummus normally being a vegetarian dish, I know of no other recipe that combines it with fish or animal protein, although I have to think that, sometime between the 13th century and today, someone else, somewhere, must have done it. And let’s not forget that smoked salmon packs a lot of nutrition as well. Livestrong cites smoked salmon as being a good source of lean protein, calcium, selenium, niacin, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. It also offers vitamins D, B-6 and B-12. With all that going for smoked salmon, combining it with a healthier spread-base than cream cheese starts to make a lot of sense!

This recipe makes about four cups of hummus.

First, we’ll need our tahini, the sesame seed paste that serves the same function in hummus as mayonnaise does in tuna salad. You can either buy ready-made tahini (you’ll need about ¼ cup) or make it as follows:
In an oven or toaster-oven, toast ½ cup of sesame seeds at 350 degrees until golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Combine the sesame seeds with 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a food processor. (A mini food processor is good here because of the small quantity of sesame seeds.) Puree until creamy.

With the tahini now ready, let's use it to make our hummus.

      Prepare the following: 2 cups chickpeas (well-drained canned are ok); juice of 1 lemon; 2 cloves garlic, chopped; 8 ounces smoked salmon, divided (6 ounces chopped, 2 ounces minced); and 2 tablespoons of capers, divided (1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp).

      Combine the tahini, chick peas, lemon juice, garlic, 6 ounces of chopped smoked salmon and 1 tablespoon of capers in a food processor. Process the ingredients in batches if necessary for the capacity of your food processor.

      Process to desired consistency. (As you’ll see in the photos, I like my hummus a little chunky, but that’s just me. Process it till it’s the consistency you like. Remember, it’s your hummus.) Once you have the consistency you want, transfer the mixture to a bowl or container and fold in ½ a diced large tomato; 2 tablespoons of minced onion; 1 teaspoon dried dill; 2 ounces of minced smoked salmon; 1 tablespoon of capers (broken slightly be pressing each between your thumb and index finger as you add them); ½ teaspoon of salt; and ¼ teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper.

      Adjust seasoning to taste.

      Top with one or two tablespoons of dried parsley; it’s great served in pita bread as a sandwich (pictured above). Another way to serve hummus (this or any other) is to put it in a bowl and drizzle the top with olive oil, and use it as a spread or dip.

      Hope you like this unique, delicious variation on of the most classic dishes around, and that you’ll visit again next week for another easy, delicious recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


      1. Thanks, Sandy! The unlikely combination turned out to work really well. The other thing I found was that, like a lot of foods made by blending cold ingredients, this got even better when it sat overnight and the flavors really got a chance to meld.

      2. I thought this was delicous! I did thin diced celery instead of the tomato and thought it was amazing!

        1. Thanks very much, Edvinas! Glad you liked the hummus, and I love the idea of using celery, a great ingredient we need to use more of. :-)