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Creamy Parsnip Hummus
with Parsley
Makes 4 Cups
Ingredients
*1 pound parsnips (about 6 medium or 4 large), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
*1 tablespoon chopped garlic (about 3 large cloves)
*1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
*4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
*1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
*2 teaspoons ground cumin
*Salt and pepper to taste
*Tahini Sauce
*2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Instructions
1In a medium saucepan, cover the parsnips with water and bring them to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the parsnips for about 20 minutes, until they are very tender when squeezed with a pair of tongs or pierced with a fork. Drain the parsnips into a colander, reserving 1 tablespoon of the cooking liquid or water.
2Transfer the parsnips to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Puree the parsnips with the reserved cooking liquid, garlic, lemon juice, butter, olive oil and cumin until smooth and creamy, for about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
3Season the puree with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the puree into a serving bowl and cool it to room temperature for about an hour.
4Use the back of a large serving spoon to create a well in the center of the puree, big enough to hold about 1/2 cup. Spoon the Tahini Sauce into the center of the well. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
Notes
  • Hummus versions abound, but most - except for some Turkish recipes - are made with chickpeas and tahini. Hummus means chickpea in Arabic and it is taken very seriously in the Middle East, where people debate questions such as whether the chickpeas should be peeled before pureeing or whether chilling the tahini ruins its texture.
  • In New England, parsnips are the first spring crop - before spinach, nettles or fiddleheads. Farmers like to harvest parsnips after they've "wintered over" because the freezing ground makes the sugars more intense. The sweetness of the parsnips paired with the bitter, nutty tahini and earthy cumin is just divine.
  • Source
    Chef/Owner Ana Sortun, Oleana Restaurant, Cambridge, MA from her book Spice Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean, Reagan Books/Harper Collins, 2006