A new twist on hummus at Empire State South

First of all, let me apologize for taking over a month to get a new post up. I know that’s quite different from the frequency of my past blog, but to be honest, I haven’t been eating adventurously as of late. Maybe nothing is adventurous to me anymore since I ate everything under the sun during my last project. That, of course, isn’t true, but sometimes it sure feels like it.

Luckily, it doesn’t take being adventurous to experience a great meal. Last week, me and the GF made our inaugural visit to Empire State South. Despite hearing great things about it for a long time, we inexplicably hadn’t gotten around to going. I’m sure most of you know the background on ESS, but if you don’t, please do yourself a favor and check it out.

As we started perusing the menu, I spotted something that I’d been wanting to try: boiled peanut hummus. I’d had traditional hummus a million times, but I was extremely curious about ESS’s version, made with mashed boiled peanuts instead of chickpeas. I like raw peanuts, but have never been crazy about the boiled ones that are popular in markets and roadside stands all over the south. The mushy texture always turned me off, but I was willing to give this “hummus” a chance.

Boiled peanut hummus

The hummus was served in a little Mason jar as part of their “in jars” starter plate, which also featured a lineup of trout mousse, pork rillette, house-made pickles, and pimiento cheese with bacon marmalade. All were excellent, but the hummus was my focus for this post. It looked just like traditional hummus; light brown in color with a bit of olive oil and seasoning. However, I suspected that the flavors would be quite different.

I scooped out a portion and spread it on a piece of toast. My best possible description would be that it tasted like fresh peanuts. I know that sounds simple, but it was the first thing that came to mind. The olive oil and spice added the traditional element that I was used to, and if it weren’t for the other jars on the platter, the hummus would have disappeared much faster. The flavors were clean, light, and really tasty.

If you like fresh peanuts (or boiled peanuts, I guess), definitely give this dish a try if you visit Empire State South. Be warned: the “in jars” plate including the hummus is much bigger than a standard starter plate, so you might want to bring some friends to help.