Chile and Lime Roasted Pepitas
The inspiration for these tasty little morsels comes from a place long ago and far away, called culinary school. Towards the end of my culinary training, one of our teacher-chefs, Sue Baldassano, hosted “Mexican Day,” including a slideshow of beautiful photos she’d taken on her many culinary adventures in Mexico, and culminating in a lovely Mexican feast that she led us in cooking. Plus Mezcal. Oh, yeah.
The only dishes I specifically remember from that day are the incredible deep, dark mole sauce (Oh, mole!) and these roasted pumpkin seeds. I walked into the room in the morning groggy and tired, as I did most of my culinary school days, and starving, as I hadn’t eaten any breakfast—another frequent bad habit back then. Sue had set out small bowls of spicy, sour roasted pumpkin seeds for us to snack on during the slideshow. I wanted to snatch one of the bowls away and eat them all myself, they tasted so good. I didn’t, but I’ve been making my own version of these great snacks ever since.
When roasted, pumpkin seeds take on a dark, meaty flavor. They are rich in protein and a whole host of essential minerals, as well as healthy fats and antioxidants. This preparation tastes wonderful as an appetizer for a Latin meal, sprinkled over a salad, or even as a last-minute addition to nachos. Or just as a tasty, healthful snack.
1 cup raw pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
Juice of ½ lime 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chile powder (the kind that’s just ground chiles, not a spice blend)
1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Toss all ingredients together, so that the pepitas are coated with lime, olive oil, salt, and chile powder.
3. Spread pepitas onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking, for about 10-15 minutes, or until most of the pepitas are nicely browned and puffed up. Use immediately or store in an airtight container and use within a week.