There is a store-bought Cajun snack-mix the bearded one and I like to purchase, usually to bring on road trips. Some of the crunchy components include almonds, peanuts, sesame sticks, etc. While the sesame sticks are my personal favorite, I find myself fishing around for an elusive element scattered throughout the entire mix. It takes deft fingers to successfully enclose around these slippery convoys of delicate crunch and flavor. I speak of Pepitas!
Pepitas are pumpkin seeds.
These differ from the pale, wide, flat seeds scraped from the inside of fat pumpkins in preparation for Jack-O-Lantern carving. They are small, pointy, and a pale olive color that transforms into a glittery copper when roasted.
When a large quantity of basil came into my possession, the first thing I did was make Drunk Noodles. The second came in the form of a spin on pesto inspired by these friendly seeds.
Roasted Pepita Pesto
1/2 Cup Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)
1 – 1 ½ Tsps. Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
4 Cups Thai Basil (Or basil of choice)
Cordobes Cheese, 5 oz. (You really only need about 2 – 3 oz. but the rest is for snacking/ garnish à Substitute Manchego or Romano if desired)
2 Garlic Cloves, Skin Removed
1 Small Shallot, Skin Removed
2/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Special Equipment: Food Processor
Preheat Oven to 375°F
Place the raw pepitas on a baking sheet
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
Use hands to ensure complete coating, then spread evenly on the baking sheet
Roast for seven minutes, giving the pan a shake about halfway through
Remove from the oven and allow to cool
Ensure basil is clean and the leaves are removed from the stems
In a food processor, add the garlic and shallot and pulse a few times to break them up
Follow with the basil, Pepitas, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. black pepper
Pulse a few times to get it going, remove the lid and push down the leaves
Turn the machine on high and drizzle in half of the extra virgin olive oil
With the machine still on high, add in chunks of the cheese one at a time
Drizzle in the remaining olive oil
The final product will be thick and feature copper flecks of Pepitas visible in the mossy green pesto.
This Roasted Pepita Pesto has all the versatility as standard pesto, acting as a spread for toasted crostini, pasta, a topping for vegetable soup, or mixed in with hummus, etc.
Large monochromatic displays of seasonal produce never cease to beckon. A trip to the corner Asian foods market for the ingredients to make Drunk Noodles resulted in the impulse purchase of persimmons.
While I have had persimmons before, my knowledge of this Bizarro version of a tomato was limited. There are two main types, Hachiya and Fuyu. This article illuminates some highly beneficial basics to distinguish between the varieties! I purchased Fuyu persimmons, which are squat in appearance and are still firm when they are fully ripe.
My first use of the pesto resulted in a spin on Caprese salad, with the pesto sandwiched between thinly sliced persimmon and the same Cordobes cheese used in the pesto microplaned on top. Finally, it is finished by sprinkling fresh cracked black pepper and large granule sea salt.
This dish is proof that bright and fresh dishes are not limited to spring and summer.