recipe by SANG YOON
Sourcing the best of the best is essential when you’ve built a reputation for explosive flavors and impeccable, deceptively simple preparations. Sang Yoon, chef-owner of über-gastropub Father’s Office in Culver City, is an uncompromising seeker of top-of-the-line ingredients.
So what culinary component heads up his list? Well, pumpkin-seed oil. Yoon says the highest quality of the condiment comes from Styria, in southeast Austria. Kürbiskernöl—as it is known in German—is a rich green-brown color and tastes distinctively, deliciously nutty. Touting the oil’s “amazing complexity of flavor,” Yoon recommends it as an addition to sweet, earthy roasted beets, an ideal winter side. The rich elixir may also be deployed as a drizzled accent on soups, pastas and risottos and as a player in dressings and marinades.
Given its myriad uses and unique flavor profile, not to mention its reported health benefits—it is said Kürbiskernöl acts as an anti-inflammatory—it’s no surprise that the Styrians lovingly refer to pumpkin-seed oil as green gold. So, like Father’s Office, accept no substitutions—look for 100 percent Styrian pumpkin-seed oil. But keep it cool, as it loses its luster when exposed to high heat.
ROASTED-BEET SALAD WITH PUMPKIN-SEED-OIL VINAIGRETTE
2 bunches baby beets (about 8)
Baby lettuces (mache or red oak)
Fresh goat-cheese crumbles
Heat oven to 375. Rinse beets, removing the greens. Wrap each in foil and place in a shallow pan or sheet. Roast 45 minutes to 1 hour, until easily pierced with a knife. When cool enough to handle, peel beets and either slice or cut into half-inch cubes.
3 ounces sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
3 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
1 ounce pumpkin-seed oil
Whisk all ingredients. Marinate roasted beets with vinaigrette at least 3 hours, then remove beets and set aside. Toss baby lettuces with vinaigrette to taste and spoon prepared beets atop greens. Garnish with goat cheese and lightly drizzle on pumpkin-seed oil.