When I walked into my neighbor’s Superbowl party and saw this two-tone platter of hummus, I lost all interest in the game (okay, I quit watching football many years ago, when the 49ers stopped winning). As usual, with my arrival at any party featuring refreshments, I was food focused, and now I was overflowing with questions. For starters: Who was the artist?!
The hummus artist was another party guest, Abram Jackson, whom I’d met a few times before (always talking food of course). Jackson did a lot of the cooking at the locally focused Fat Goat on Lakeside (now closed). That won’t be his last cooking gig, mind you. As it stands, Abram Jackson is gearing up to open Selba on Cary Street (in the old Honda House) with the title of Executive Chef. He couldn’t be more excited, and by the looks of that Green Bay Packers hummus platter, the creative juices are already flowing (more on the hummus in a minute).
Despite the persistent recurrence of graffiti tags on its facade, lots of work is happening inside the old motorcycle showroom. Jackson hopes to see Selba open sometime in April. There’s still likely to be a local ingredient focus, but that’s not to say the food will be patterned after The Fat Goat or Sprout, or anywhere else. Although the cuisine will be regionally inspired, “There won’t be anything else like this in Richmond,” says Jackson. That’s a pretty common prediction, but if a sports bar opened with the Redskins logo depicted in hummus on a plate, I’d probably think about watching football from a bar-stool (while holding my tongue about that unfortunate team name).
How the Hummus Got its Stripes
Without much persuading, Abram divulged his hummus secrets. The orange “G” was not roasted red pepper, as you might expect. Abram simmered annato seeds (the flavorless source of color for any orange cheddar) in olive oil and used that natural food coloring to make his hummus according to a standard EVOO-centric recipe. The green hummus included a base of mostly green lentils (stretching the definition of hummus, for sure). But, to intensify the color, he juiced spinach and mixed that in as well.
This is where I should be telling you about the flavors… Believe it or not, my toddler dragged me away from the party before I got a chance to taste either colored dip (and I wasn’t anxious to be the first one to deface the centerpiece of the party). I guess we’ll have to go to Selba in April to find out how Abram Jackson’s food stacks up.