Ultimate Hummus

This recipe, which requires overnight (or at least 8 hours) of soaking dried chickpeas, builds on those by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook in Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking and Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi in Jerusalem: a Cookbook. The texture of great hummus suffers a bit in the refrigerator, so it's best to leave it out at room temperature, as long as you're going to serve it within a few hours. If you need to make it in advance, store it in the fridge and let it come to room temperature at least a half hour before you serve it. 

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

Ingredients

1 cup dried chickpeas

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 1/4 cups tahini (stirred well)

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Paprika 

Chopped Italian parsley (optional)

Best-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for garnishing

Instructions

The night before you're going to make the hummus, place the chickpeas in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the baking soda, cover them with twice their volume of water and leave them overnight to soak at room temperature. 

Drain the chickpeas, rinse them under cold water and transfer them to a large pot. Add 8 cups of cold water and the remaining teaspoon of baking soda. Bring them to a boil over high heat, skimming off the foam that forms on the surface and any skins you can easily remove. Lower the heat to medium and continue simmering uncovered until the chickpeas are just beginning to fall apart, which can take anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes or longer, depending on the type and freshness of the chickpeas. Drain well.

While the chickpeas are cooking, place the lemon juice in a small bowl, and crush the garlic through a press into the lemon juice. Set it aside at least 10 minutes to let the garlic mellow in the juice. 

After draining the chickpeas, put them in the bowl of a food processor, and purée until smooth. With the motor still running, pour the tahini, then the lemon juice with garlic and salt in the feeding tube, then pour 5 tablespoons of ice water into the tube. Continue to purée about 5 minutes, until it is preternaturally smooth, creamy and fluffy. 

If you're not going to serve it immediately, place it in a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap so that the wrap touches the surface and prevents a skin from forming.  To serve it, spoon it onto a plate or shallow bowl, and use the back of a large spoon to form a depression in the center and a ridge going around the periphery. Dust it with paprika and sprinkle on the parsley (if desired), then drizzle some olive oil into the center. 

Serve with warm or toasted pita bread.