My first attempt at cooking with jalapenos, or any form of hot pepper for that matter, ended in disaster. The food turned out delicious. I can't remember what it was, but I'm certain it was delicious. The disaster part pertains to the agony I experienced throughout the rest of the day. My hands, face, eyes and nose all sizzled away. This had nothing to do with me eating the peppers, mind you, but just from touching them while cooking.
I had no clue what I was doing at the time. I just knew that I had a newfound love of spicy food. I'd experienced it at restaurants, eating meals prepared by others, but had yet to prepare my own three-alarm meal. I think I was working on something Indian, but can't say for sure. In any event, I happily chopped away at my peppers, cluelessly handling seeds and flesh, and excitedly tossing them into whatever meal I was working on. See, the thing about hot pepper burns is this: they sneak up on you. So by the time you realize you've got a problem, you've already been handling the peppers for a good ten or fifteen minutes, so you know things are only going to get worse. On that particular occasion I also developed some annoying sneezing and eye burning, which of course drove me to start rubbing my eyes and blowing my nose, only leading to the juices burning my hands to end up in my eyes and nose as well. It was really bad. I remember thinking the meal was fantastic but being absolutely miserable while eating it.
It still amazes me that I can eat the fireyest of meals and feel nothing but enjoyment for the heat when it's contained to my mouth. This particular dish isn't really all that hot, as the brief period of roasting the jalapenos mellows the heat while enhancing their savory flavor. But since the recipe does contain multiple jalapenos, this post definitely a good opportunity to illustrate something I've told you before: wear gloves. Wear gloves when handling the peppers, when chopping them...it's probably even a good idea to wear gloves when you wash out your food processor bowl. This hummus is delicious and I'd hate for anyone's enjoyment of it to be spoiled by capsaicin burns.
If you'd like this hummus to be extra spicy, I suggest using up to eight peppers. You could also include the seeds, as this is where a lot of the heat is. On the other hand, if you're concerned about the heat level, roast a few peppers and add them one at a time. If you end up some leftover roasted peppers you can always freeze them for the next batch.
Another modification that would be nice is substituting lime juice for lemon. Once I started making this I wished I'd had some limes on hand. If anyone gives this a shot please let me know how it works out.
Roasted Jalapeno Hummus
4 jalapeno peppers
14 oz. can or 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp. salt
Put on gloves. Cut jalapenos in half, and remove stems and seeds. Place pepper halves on foil, skin sides up, and place under broiler. Broil 5-10 minutes, watching closely and checking frequently, until skins start to bubble. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while you get everything else together.
Place all other ingredients into food processor bowl and process until smooth and creamy. Remove skins from jalapenos once they are cool enough to handle. This should be pretty easy after roasting. Add jalapenos to food processor and pulse until peppers are chunky and distributed throughout hummus. Serve with pita or tortilla chips.