A few weeks ago the roomies and I were treated to an amazing dinner at our Suzie and Emily’s place. While everything was delicious, the highlight for me was Emily’s balsamic glazed cioppolini. Their sweetness came as a shock, a shock that had me thinking about those little guys day and night. Even with the incredible food we encountered throughout Portugal and Spain, Catherine and I agreed that “Operation Cioppolini” was a must as soon as we arrived home.
The idea for hummus came out of sheer desperation. While falafel and schwarma abounded throughout Spain, it seemed that everywhere we went was fresh out of hummus! Really, it happened two or three times this way.
Both recipes are easy, healthy, delicious and flexible. Add what you think will make them taste better; omit what you don’t like. The hummus is especially easy since it doesn’t require a food processor.
Fork-smashed hummus with garlic and lemon
Makes two lunch-sized portions
We were hoping to add some fresh herbs, but believe it or not couldn’t get our hands on any. I think it’d taste even better with something fresh and green like Italian parsley, basil or maybe even thyme.
1 can garbanzo beans
¼ cup veggie broth
2 cloves garlic
¾ fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons EVOO
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh herb
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the veggie broth to medium in a medium-sized, shallow pan. Rinse the garbanzos in a colander and pour into the broth. Heat until broth has evaporated, about 5-8 minutes. Test the beans with a fork for tenderness about half way through. Once the broth has evaporated they should mash easily. If they’re still hard, heat for a few extra minutes with a few additional tablespoons of broth.
Move beans to a large bowl and mash with a fork until they’re the consistency of a thick, course paste. Mash in garlic and slowly add the lemon juice and EVOO. Stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed and a course yet creamy texture is achieved. Serve with a drizzle of EVOO in shallow bowls, or topped with balsamic cioppolini.
We dipped green beans, cherry tomatoes, carrots and radish into ours but use whatever’s in season and yummy!
Emily’s balsamic cioppolini
Make as few or as many as you want. I’d air on the side of making a lot because fresh cioppolini really shrink down. Also, it’s hard to stop eating them.
8-10 fresh cioppolini onions
1 1/2 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Add the oil to a small non-stick pan and heat to low. Remove the tough, dirty outer skin of the cioppolini and cut both sides so that they are flat, allowing for even browning. When the oil is hot add the onions and let brown on each side for about five minutes, or until golden. Divide one tablespoon of sugar on top of each onion, and then flip. Use the remaining tablespoon of sugar for the other side. Caramelize both sides for another five minutes each, checking for brownness frequently.
Pour in vegetable broth and heat until evaporated, about 5-8 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce until the onions are dark brown on both sides and the vinegar is syrupy. Serve as a side dish, or add a few to the top of hummus and spoon over some of the balsamic syrup.