The first time I went to the Symposium for Professional Food Writers at the Greenbrier, I walked into the grand dining room (think of the biggest chandelier you’ve ever seen, in green and black crystal) on the first night for dinner. The hostess took us, each one as we arrived, to the round tables of writers and an empty chair next to someone. Before I even took my seat I was saying hello to Sofia, an adorable, bright, funny and fun writer from New York.
Next thing you know, a lot of years (nine) have passed and thanks to all things Internet—we’ve still got it.
It was Sofia who ever so casually posted on Facebook about the peeled chickpeas she’s been using to make her hummus. I fell out of my chair directly to my knees, said a prayer of thanksgiving for Sofia and her brilliant mind, and started on the hunt.
Why? Perhaps you are like the gal at Fantis Foods who is the gatekeeper for distribution of the product. I called to find out more, as in: why can’t I find this product online anywhere, and how can I because I have readers who are gonna want it. Bad. Her response was one of mildly amused disbelief. She said in her East Coast-y accent: Who cares about peeled chickpeas?
WHO CARES?! Clearly she has never tasted the stop-dead-in-your-tracks difference that is hummus made with peeled chickpeas.
What? You haven’t either? Your hummus game has just changed, and I mean big, my friends.
The best hummus you can eat is, according to me and many others, ultra-smooth. For a long time I thought it must be the machinery the big companies like Sabra use to get their hummus so perfectly smooth. I made a decent attempt at adding laban, yogurt, to my hummus to give it better texture. Then it became clear this was about the skins, which never puree fully and make the hummus coarser. Which some like, and to you I say: we better head to therapy together, because I don’t understand you.
The skins also impart a flavor, a hint of undesirable bitterness, that is far, far inferior to the flavor of hummus made without skins.
The quest to figure out how to best loosen the skins from chickpeas is monumental. There’s this thread, this post (can’t wait to tell Deb!) and tons more like it. Because who wants to spend all that time standing at the sink popping the skins off of a ridiculously small amount of chickpeas? And who, really, is going to do it? Nobody but some poor lost souls like me.
To the point now, I promise. The Greeks (of course! Smarty pants) have a product that we can get imported here that is the holiest of Holy Grail, dried peeled chickpeas. I keep thinking I’ll abandon everything to figure out the biz plan of processing and selling peeled chickpeas right here in the U.S. The market, you know it, is wide and deep.
Here’s my gift to you today:
Buy them here.
Your gift to me and the rest of us is if you’ll let us know if you find the peeled chickpeas anyplace else where they can be ordered…in large quantities! You may be able to find them at a local Mediterranean or Greek import market. That’s not happening Up North in Michigan (we have other treasures), but probably downstate somewhere and probably where you live. Because I just know you live somewhere cool.
The peeled garbanzos cook up in lots of water, big pot, in about 90 minutes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a healthy simmer (uncovered). Careful not to take them too far, because without the skins they don’t have anything holding them together, and you don’t want them to fall apart. Keep checking and tasting as you go. Soft, creamy to the bite, with just a whisper of resistance, and they are done. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid for your hummus. Now you’re ready to make your homemade hummus into the finest delight of your table. I can’t wait! I’m so happy for all of us!