Hi, I’m Jonathan, librarian, Super Food Nerd, and man in the grips of an obsession — an obsession with chickpeas. Or rather with hummus, the highest end a chickpea can aspire to.
In New York City’s Chelsea Market, several floors below Food Network and Cooking Channel’s offices, there is a lunch counter for Ronnybrook Milk Bar, famed for its ice cream. For those in the know, however, there is only one thing to order: hummus with egg. The Milk Bar, it turns out, is helmed by a bonafide hamsani (Middle Eastern hummus vendor), Aylon Hadar, originally from the outskirts of Tel Aviv; a man who, I am absolutely certain, turns out some of the absolute best hummus in NYC.
Aylon’s hummus is everything store-bought hummus is not: light as mousse, smooth as pudding. It is served just a bit warm and made fresh daily, both customary in the Middle East. Aylon begins with a shockingly large quantity of hummus, spread in a concave layer across a rimmed plate. A generous quantity of olive oil is then poured into the center. Atop this, he drizzles a thin white tahini sauce, and finishes with a splash of color in the form of sweet paprika and chopped parsley. The final result is layered, sophisticated, beautiful; a far cry from dense, monochromatic store-bought hummus.
So, with Aylon’s hummus as my grail, I attempted to hack his recipe. Here are some lessons I learned along the way.