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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Global Pantry: Styrian Toasted Pumpkin-Seed Oil

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 8:01 AM

click to enlarge pumpkin_big.jpg
Farmers in Styria, a former duchy that straddles the Austrian-Slovenian border, have been making artisanal pumpkin-seed oil pretty much the same way since not too long after the squashes arrived there from the New World. Seeds from a particularly oil-rich local variety of squash are dried, hulled, toasted, and pressed, producing a dark green, almost black oil.

The flavor is nutty with earthy undertones, reminiscent of Mexican roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), but much more intense. It makes a great dip for crusty bread; that combination makes a fast, easy snack that's perfect for a wine tasting or aperitifs. A friend who visited Styria said that there they use it in a dressing for cold meat salads--there are some recipes here. It also makes a good finishing oil for soups, particularly simple winter squash purees.

The stuff is hard to find. Searching for some in SF recently, the only place I found it was Rainbow Grocery

(1745 Folsom), which has La Tourangelle's for $15.99 for 250ml. They

also have a raw version made from raw pumpkin seeds, which I suspect is

more of a health food than a gourmet treat.

click to enlarge pumpkinseedoil.jpg

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Robert Lauriston

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