Hummus

Makes 6 to 8 servings
Time: 15 minutes with precooked chickpeas

The Middle Eastern classic has become daily fare for many Americans, whether as a dip or a sandwich spread. Make it as garlicky, lemony, or spicy as you like (try it with smoked pimentón or Aleppo or other mild Middle Eastern pepper); I love it with lots of lemon juice. If you're serving it as a dip, you may need to add more bean-cooking liquid, water, olive oil, or lemon juice to thin it.

2 cups drained well-cooked or canned chickpeas, cooking liquid reserved if possible

1/2 cup tahini, with some of its oil if you like

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus oil for garnish

2 cloves garlic, peeled, or to taste Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin or paprika, or to taste, plus a sprinkling for garnish

Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

1. Put the chickpeas, tahini, oil, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor (or a blender for even smoother hummus), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and begin to process; add chickpea-cooking liquid or water as needed to produce a smooth purée.

2. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed. Serve, drizzled with some olive oil and sprinkled with a bit of cumin or paprika and some parsley.