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This corn hummus dish is sure to please your family and friends over this weekend. Nick Wagner / Forum News Service

Corn hummus sure to please on Fourth of July

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In our opinion, there are few foods that embrace the essence of America and summer nostalgia better than sweet corn.

Corn on the cob has been a summer tradition since I was a little girl, and I have fond memories of shucking corn with my sisters, trying to see who could finish the fastest.

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We love sweet corn, and while our favorite way to eat it is straight off the cob, we’ve found a variety of different ways to enjoy this fresh summer vegetable. We’ve made grilled corn salsa, corn chowder, corn fritters, Italian corn succotash, and this year, Tony decided to experiment by adding to one of our favorite dip recipes with his version of corn hummus.

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip or spread traditionally featuring a puree of chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini (sesame paste), olive oil, and salt and pepper. When Tony makes hummus, he prefers to skip the tahini and increase the amount of olive oil instead (extra-virgin for this purpose), and for this recipe he added a cup of sweet corn – cut straight off the cob – and a teaspoon of hot sauce.

The result was a flavorful, smooth and creamy hummus, with a sweeter flavor than the traditional version. Tony doesn’t care for overly spicy foods, so the amount of hot sauce he used for the corn hummus was just enough to brighten up the other flavors with

very little heat intensity. Tony prefers to use Sriracha hot sauce, but you could use Sambal, Tabasco or whatever variety floats your spicy boat.

One thing I like about this recipe is that you can adjust the amount of each ingredient according to your preference. Hummus is extremely versatile, and you can experiment with flavors by adding a roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, olives, etc.

Corn is wonderfully compatible with chickpeas, balancing their nutty firmness with a lovely brightness, while its high-starch content brings a delicious creaminess to the already velvety texture of hummus. Corn and chickpeas are both great sources of nutrition, but this dip is so flavorful that you’d never guess how good it is for you.

Corn is an excellent source of fiber, protein, Vitamin C and folic acid, which have properties that help promote energy, good vision and a healthy heart, among other things. While sweet corn does have natural sugars, the amount in one ear of corn is less than in an apple.

Chickpeas have a nutty flavor and a buttery, starchy texture, both of which work well with corn. They are high in iron, fiber, vitamins C and B6, protein and folate, and a variety of other nutrients that are known for boosting your heart health, immune system, energy, bone development, brain health, new cell growth and more. In other words, chickpeas are kind of amazing. They also make a great addition to salads and soups.

Hummus is easy to make and can be refrigerated for at least a week. It’s great as a dip, but can also be used as a spread for sandwiches, crackers or even as a base for bruschetta. Inspired by the Fourth of July, we enjoyed Tony’s corn hummus with organic blue and white corn chips, but pita chips would also work well.

We wish you and your families a happy, safe and delicious Fourth of July.

Tony’s Easy

Corn Hummus

Ingredients

1 15-oz. can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed

Juice of one lemon, freshly squeezed

1 garlic clove, whole

1 teaspoon hot sauce (Sriracha, Sambal, Tabasco, etc.)

1 cup fresh corn, raw and cut straight off the cob (approximately 3 cobs)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt and pepper

Directions

Place all of the ingredients except the oil, salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until well-combined. Very slowly, add the olive oil in a steady stream while food processor is running, until fully incorporated. Add a half-teaspoon of salt and pepper, taste, and add more seasoning as desired.

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for at least one week. Garnish with whole garbanzo beans and kernels of fresh or grilled corn, and serve with a hearty chip or cracker.

Home with the Lost Italian is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple own Sarello’s restaurant in Moorhead, Minn., and live in Fargo with their 9-year-old son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at dine@sar ellos.com. All previous recipes can be found at http://thelostitalian.areavoices.com.

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