Souvenir From Austria: Pumpkin Seed Oil

When a friend returned from a two-week sailing trip on the Adriatic Sea, she soothed my pangs of envy with a few treats from her travels, including forest-green pumpkin seed oil, which we sopped up with chunks of bread. Dark and toasty, pumpkin seed oil can be used as you would any good olive oil, but its flavor is far more intriguing.

The oil is made by pressing roasted, hulled pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas. Styria, a region in Austria and Slovenia, has been producing pumpkin seed oil since the 1700s, when it was prized for its medicinal properties.

The oil is not used in cooking, since it can become bitter when heated. Instead, take advantage of its intense, nutty taste whisked into vinaigrettes, drizzled over soups, or even spooned on vanilla ice cream. Or just pour a small pool into a dish and enjoy it plain with bread. It's good enough to soothe the sting of another June with no Adriatic Sea in sight.

Find it: La Tourangelle Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil, Two 8.45-oz. tins for $26.15 on Amazon

Recipes to try:
Austrian Cheese Spread with Pumpkin Seed Oil from Food & Wine
Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil Vinaigrette from Food & Wine
Stilton-Pear Crostini with Pumpkin Seed Oil from O Magazine
Pumpkin Seed Oil Cake from Delicious Days

Have you ever tasted pumpkin seed oil?

Related: New Pantry Favorite: Smoked Olive Oil

(Images: Amazon; Flickr member smashz licensed under Creative Commons)