Saturday, February 10, 2024


Chef Charo Carmona

Having become ubiquitous, the party dip for every occasion, hummus perhaps is ready for its remake. I tasted a version this week that I’m trying out in my kitchen.

It was not called hummus, but ajo pimentón, “garlic-paprika”. It was a thick spread—what is called paté in Spanish—of chickpeas, garlic, pimentón and a good dose of cumin. The spread was served with crisp toasts as an appetizer before a stunning meal at Arte de Cozina, a restaurant in Antequera (Málaga), where Chef Charo Carmona is famed for her interpretation of local, traditional dishes.

 Charo’s mission statement: Recuperar sabores desplazados, investigar sobre elaboraciones ancestrales y conocer la mejor manera de aprovechar los productos de la zona son nuestras máximas.  (To retrieve forgotten flavors, to seek out ancestral recipes and to discover the best way to take advantage of the products of our region.)

 Charo generously shares recipes for the dishes served at Arte, nicely printed on index cards. But I forgot to ask her for the ajo pimentón, so I am winging it in the kitchen.

Ajo Pimentón somewhat resembles Ajo Colorao, a dish of potatoes mashed with bacalao and lots of pimentón. But it’s most like Middle Eastern hummus, without the tahini and with pimentón that turns it a ruddy red. Serve it accompanied with toasts, regañás (crispy crackers), or pita crisps for spreading or dipping.

This dip, called Ajo Pimentón, is a little like hummus, made with chickpeas plus lots of pimentón. 

Serve with toasts or crisps for spreading or dipping.

Garlic-Pimentón Spread
Ajo Pimentón

Use both sweet and hot pimentón.
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
2 teaspoons pimentón de la Vera (smoked paprika)
½ teaspoon pimentón picante de la Vera (smoked hot paprika)
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Chickpea cooking liquid or water, to thin the spread
Sesame seeds
Toasts or crackers  to accompany

Combine the chickpeas, two kinds of pimenton, garlic, cumin, oil, salt and lemon juice in a blender. Add enough liquid, about ¼ cup, to turn the mixture into a thick cream. 

To serve, place in a bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with toasts or crackers.

Ajo pimentón is a smooth chickpea spread with pimentón.

Three dishes from Arte de Cozina. Clockwise from top left,  Chestnut Stew, Kid-Goat in Pastoril Sauce, and Olla Podrida, a soup/stew with chickpeas, chicken, pork, beef, pork belly, tongue, trotter, ear, tail, plus rabbit, partridge, kid, blood sausage, chorizo, turnip, cabbage, garlic, and saffron. Sprinkled with parsley. Intense flavors. 

The restaurant: Arte de Cozina.

Recipes from Arte de Cozina Season for "Spoon Foods."

Accompaniments to the dip:


  1. I often sprinkle pimentón on top of hummus, so I know I'll love this!

    1. Mad Dog: Use lots of pimentón and cumin. Really changes the whole concept.