Porchetta seasoned pepitas.
That’s where my mind went upon contemplating what to do with the pepitas I had leftover from making Not Your (Grand)Mother’s Broccoli Salad. And because I LOVE porchetta. Porchetta seasoning isn’t just for meat – traditionally it’s applied to pork roast (and is delicious on poultry and bovine meats as well), but, much like Frank’s Red Hot, you can put that $&!# on everything.
At least that’s my philosophy. I’m dedicated to finding new and creative ways to get more porchetta seasoned goodness in my life. And what better way than through snacks!
My friends concurred. I made a double batch the other day, sealed them in a sandwich bag and let them hang out on the counter. I knew they would be curious… one friend was like, ‘What’s in here?’ After explaining she was like, ‘You so FAN-cy!’ and ‘Can you adopt me?’ And the other friend curiously handled the bag, opened it, took a big whiff, gave ‘em a try, and said ‘Holy shit, these are f@#%in’ good!’
So. If you want to impress your friends with your creative culinary snacking prowess, make these crunchy porchetta seasoned pepitas.
This recipe took a little trial and error to get just right. Here are my lessons learned after multiple iterations.
- You gotta bake the pepitas at no more than 325 degrees Fahrenheit, for 15 to 20 minutes. Low(ish) and slow is the way to go.
- Grind the porchetta spices, or they won’t stick to the pepitas. Why did I think a fennel seed would magically stick to a pepita? What was I thinking.
- Season before, not after. Heat activates the flavor. Same idea as pan toasting spices before use.
Side note for the uninitiated. Let’s talk about porchetta seasoning. It’s an Italian-forward mix of herbs and spices. It’s very bold and flavorful. The porchetta seasoning I’m using came from a grocery store on the Iron Range called Zup’s. The ingredients they list include fennel, parsley, oregano, crosscut celery (whatever that is, because I know you all totally have that in your spice rack), rosemary, basil, and “spice”; it comes paired with black pepper, salt, and onion salt, which is meant to be used in conjunction. But kept separately so that the salt and pepper don’t just sink to the bottom of the mix and get lost. You can certainly buy it premade like I did, but if you want to make your own, give this porchetta seasoning recipe a try. It has my stamp of approval (though sadly it is missing crosscut celery…).
Without further ado, the recipe for crunchy porchetta seasoned pepitas. Make, eat, repeat.
- 1 cup raw pepitas
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon porchetta seasoning
- Salt and pepper, to taste (only if your porchetta seasoning doesn't already include salt and pepper)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add porchetta seasoning to a mortar and pestle, and grind until nearly a powder. Your goal here is to break down the bigger spices like rosemary and fennel so that they adhere to the pepitas.
- Combine pepitas, olive oil, and ground porketta seasoning. Stir until the pepitas are well coated.
- Spread the pepitas in an even layer on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt and pepper (if necessary).
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan approximately halfway through.
- Remove from oven and let cool on a baking sheet (they will pop and crackle for a minute or two - a delightful sound!).
- Eat and enjoy!