Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Recipes: White Bean “Hummus” & Piadine (Italian Flatbread)

Bean spreads are a staple throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. Because bean spreads are delicious when made with canned beans, they are a quick and easy appetizer.

Hummus, a combination of chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil, is one of the Middle East’s most common bean spreads. I recently made a delicious variation on hummus using white cannellini beans. I found the recipe because I am participating in Taste and Create.

Taste and Create is an event created by For the Love of Food in which food writers are paired with a randomly assigned partner, and asked to cook and review one recipe from their partner’s blog. Taste and Create gives writers the opportunity to have their recipes tested by a peer.

This month I was paired with Holly, who blogs at Phemomenon. Holly was inspired to create White Bean “Hummus” after tasting a similar dish at a restaurant. Holly bakes her bean spread with a bread crumb and parmesan crust, and says it is delicious. She advises it can also be served at room temperature without the crust and with a little olive oil drizzled on top, and that is the version I made.

The flavors in Holly’s White Bean “Hummus” are nicely balanced. It is garlicky, but not overwhelmingly so, and has just enough rosemary to fully round out the other ingredients.

Holly serves her bean spread with Piadine, a traditional soft and chewy Italian flatbread from Emilia Romagna that cooks quickly in a grill pan. Serve the Piadine with Holly’s flavorful “Hummus," along with fresh carrots, peppers, and other vegetables.

My friend Maria of Organically Cooked lives in Hania, Crete. She asked if Piadine could be used as Greek pita bread to serve with souvlaki or kebab. The answer is an emphatic yes. The texture of Piadine is much like Greek pita bread, and the slightly smoky flavor it gets from the grill is a perfect match for souvlaki.

I’ll happily make both recipes again.

White Bean HummusWhite Bean “Hummus”
Adapted from
The flavor of hummus is brighter if canned beans are drained and rinsed before using. To impart more bean flavor, follow Holly’s lead and substitute some of the bean canning liquid for the water in the recipe. I made up for not baking the hummus with a cheese crust by adding more olive oil than is called for in Holly’s original recipe. For vegan or Lenten hummus, leave out the optional parmesan cheese.

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp. tahini
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
3 Tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper or 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until the ingredients have formed a soft creamy paste, adding water or olive oil as necessary to achieve the consistency you desire. Taste and correct the seasoning for garlic, lemon juice, and salt. To serve, spread on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with black olives.

PiadinePiadine (Italian Flatbread)
Makes 6 flatbreads
Adapted from NapaStyle via Phemomenon
Cut the Piadine into triangles or wedges to serve it with White Bean “Hummus.” Piadine also makes a wonderful wrap for a salumi sandwich or Caesar salad.

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast (1 packet)
3 1/2 – 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. salt

Mix 1/2 cup water, yeast, and 1/2 cup flour and let sit for 15 minutes, or until the mixture starts to bubble. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or by hand with a wooden spoon), mix in the remaining water, 3 cups flour, olive oil and salt. When the dough starts clumping together, switch to the dough hook (or to kneading by hand). Knead, adding flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and silky, about 5 minutes.

Flour a board or counter, dump out the dough, and knead for 1 minute. Put the dough in a lightly floured bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dish towel. Let dough rise for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and divide it into six balls. (The dough may be made ahead to this point and refrigerated or frozen. To use, remove from the refrigerator or freezer and bring to room temperature.)

Roll out the balls one at a time into an 8- to 9-inch round. (While one flatbread is cooking, roll out the next.)

Heat a cast iron grill or frying pan until it is smoking hot. Reduce the heat to medium, and put a rolled-out dough round in the hot pan. When the surface of the dough starts to bubble and it is starting to brown on the other side, turn it over and cook the second side. When it is done, brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a little course salt. Place on a rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds. Serve.
This is my entry for Bread Baking Day #7: Flatbreads hosted by Chili und Ciabatta.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely spot on! I love using canned beans to make dips, often cheaing with chickpeas for hummus. Being of Greek descent I love all breads. I've got some bred baking to catch up on. As always an informative post.

Peter M said...

Okay Laurie, how did you get those round grill marks on the piadine?

It looks like a UFO landed on them in Area 51...I love it!

I prefer the bean dips to hummus, more substantive flavour, IMO.

Ivy said...

Both recipes are so good. I love hoummous but only tried them with chickpeas. I can imagine dipping that hot bread in the dip!!!

PheMom said...

This looks like a great version. Thanks for partnering up! I haven't made my dish from your site yet, but I think I know which one I am going to try.

Oh, did you grill the piadine on a burner? That looks so cool!


Mike of Mike's Table said...

Looks fantastic! Hummus is a wonderful thing and this looks like a really tasty one

Lisa Turner said...

I've never made hummus with white beans before, but it sounds like something I should try!

LisaRene said...

What a nice twist to bake hummus. I eat bean dips all the time but have never tried baking one. What can I say about bread other then it is probably my favorite food! I think the char from the cast iron grill would give it a little extra special flavor.

test it comm said...

I have been experimenting with a few different types of chickpea hummus recipes over the last few months. I will definitely have to try a bean based dip. It sounds really good. That piadine bread looks amazing. Nice and thick and soft and warm.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Both of those recipes look great. These days I find I prefer the white bean "hummus" more than the chickpea version.

Suganya said...

Those grill marks are too darn pretty.

Maria Verivaki said...

How do these flatbreads compare with the pita bread we use for souvlaki? If they are similar, I could try making some of these instead of buying pita bread form the supermarket

Laurie Constantino said...

Peter G - your bread comment makes me laugh. Before I got married, I never saw bread as a must-have at the dinner table. Boy, did I learn quick what a necessity it is!

Peter M - UFO HA! I have a round cast iron grill pan, that's all.

Ivy, I'm with you, I like all bean spreads and, you are right about how good the hot bread is with the hummus.

PheMom, thanks so much for the recipes - they're great! Cast iron grill pan; not a burner.

Mike, garlic and beans is my idea of a good appetizer.

Lisa, you should definitely try it!

LisaRene, the smoky flavor from the grill pan really makes this. I have to avoid making bread too often as I like it a little bit too much.

Kevin, I think you'd like the dip, and the bread is simply wonderful.

Lydia, perhaps I like the texture of bean hummus better, but for flavor it's hard for me to pick.

Suganya, I agree!

Maria, they are pretty much the same as pita bread for souvlaki; I'll add a paragraph - thanks for the idea!

melusina said...

Mmmm, it is 4am and now I'm hungry. I should try the flatbread, but I know my husband will never eat the hummus so it will go wasted.