Alon Shaya's Blue Crab and Roasted Corn Hummus
A little extra time and money will yield the best hummus you've ever had.
In a large bowl, combine 1 ½ quarts water and ½ teaspoon baking soda; add the chickpeas and soak overnight.
Heat the oven to 400F. Drain the chickpeas and toss with 2 teaspoons baking soda, then spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until the beans have visibly dried, 10 to 15 minutes.
Move the chickpeas to a large sieve or colander; with cold water running over the chickpeas, start roughing them up with your hands to loosen the skins. You can grab a small handful and briskly run them between your palms, or pinch them between your fingers (don’t worry about removing and discarding the skins yet). The more you do now, the more will come off during cooking, so take some time here and don’t worry if they split. It’s good to be thorough—this is like giving them a deep-tissue massage to loosen everything up.
Combine the remaining 3 quarts water with the remaining ½ teaspoon baking soda, this time in a pot. Add the chickpeas and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. With a small sieve or slotted spoon, skim away the foam and loose skins from the top of the water and discard. It may be helpful for you to reserve the discarded skins in a bowl to track your progress; with enough persistence, you’re aiming to have about ¾ cup of skins by the time you’re finished.
Every couple of minutes during the cooking process, strain away the skins by plunging your sieve deep into the pot and giving a good stir, then using the sieve to catch the swirling skins, as you would fish for minnows. It’s okay to beat the chickpeas up a little against the side of the pot to speed this along. Repeat this process as much as you have the patience to do (you won’t get them all, so don’t drive yourself insane), until the chickpeas are just becoming tender, in 20 to 25 minutes.
For the hummus:
—4½ quarts water, divided
—3 teaspoons baking soda, divided
—1 ½ cups dried chickpeas
—7 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
—¼ cup raw tahini
—2 tablespoons lemon juice
—2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt, divided
—½ teaspoon ground cumin
—3 tablespoons canola oil
—2 tablespoons hot water
—2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
—1 ear of corn, shucked
—¼ cup lemon-shallot butter (recipe below)
—4 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat, picked through for cartilage
—Fresh mint leaves and lemon juice for garnish
—Crudités or warm pita for serving
When the chickpeas are still sort of “al dente,” give them one last skim to trap any skins, then add the garlic. Cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, until the beans are super-creamy. Drain and let them sit in the strainer for a few minutes so any extra moisture can evaporate.
Combine the chickpeas in a food processor with the raw tahini, lemon juice, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and cumin. Process for several minutes, until the mixture is incredibly smooth. With the machine still going, stream in the canola oil, hot water, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Let it rip—there’s no way to overprocess this stuff, and you want it to be as light as air.
For the corn: While the chickpeas are cooking, preheat the oven to 400F.
Place the corn on a large square of aluminum foil. Coat it evenly with the remaining ½ tablespoon (1 ½ teaspoons) olive oil and ½ teaspoon kosher salt, then wrap the foil tightly around it. Place the packet on a baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes until tender. Open the packet slightly to let it cool; when the corn is cool enough to handle, slice the kernels from the cob. (You’ll need about one-fourth of these kernels for the hummus; feel free to save the rest for another use.)
For assembly: In a large skillet, warm the butter over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, stir in the corn and cook for a minute or two, until it starts to sizzle. Gently stir in the crab and cook for another minute or so to warm it through.
Serve the hummus at room temperature in a wide, shallow serving bowl. Use the back of your spoon to make a well in the center, then fill it with the corn and crab, spooning the butter over and around it. Squeeze lemon juice over the bowl and finish with freshly torn mint leaves. Serve with crudités or warm pita.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all ingredients and whip on high until smooth.
For the lemon-shallot butter:
—2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
—Zest of 2 lemons
—1 small shallot, finely diced (about 2 tablespoons)
—½ teaspoon kosher salt
Alon Shaya is Chef-Partner of Pomegranate Hospitality, which includes Saba in New Orleans, Safta in Denver, and both Miss River and Chandelier Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans. Born in Israel, raised in Philadelphia, and a proud New Orleanian, Alon has always had a deep love and appreciation for food and the singular way restaurants anchor their communities.