Creamy, flavorful hummus with warm pita bread or crisp crackers appears on nearly every traditional meze or appetizer platter throughout Turkey, particularly in the southeast near the Iraq and Syrian borders where the first chickpeas were domesticated during Neolithic times.
When combined with bread (wheat was also domesticated in the region), hummus makes a complete and easily digestible protein. Best of all, you can make it in minutes and feed a crowd. Simply chop a little garlic, add olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper. Whir in a food processor or with a mixer or blender, and you may find yourself eating it by the spoonful. This recipe is adapted for the American kitchen. Should you wish to add sesame paste or tahini for a denser, Middle Eastern flavor, add a tablespoon during the blending process.
*Note: Black pepper will leave flecks in the hummus; I prefer to use white pepper.
Drain half the liquid from the chickpeas and reserve the rest to add creaminess and flavor. Combine the chickpeas with their liquid, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Pulse until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. If the hummus is too thick, thin to the desired consistency with water or lemon juice. Spoon into a shallow serving bowl. Garnish with additional olive oil on the top. Set the olive in the center. Garnish with parsley leaves and paprika or cayenne.