Make Ahead

Kürbiskernöl Aioli - Austrian Pumpkin Seed Oil Aioli

May 25, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

When I think of aioli I always think back fondly to a summer evening in Massachusetts spent with our best friends. Paul, our best man, had invited us to his parent’s home for dinner. Anne & Mike are great cooks and decided to make shrimp with an aioli. We ate outside with the pile of shrimp in front of us and bowls of the aioli and glasses of wonderful Spanish wine. The best part was that they insisted that we toss the shrimp shells over our shoulders into the lawn. They thought the raccoons and other wild life should also share in our feast, and, it would also help the lawn. It was a great night!

I wanted to create an aioli that was a bit more subtle than the traditional olive oil and garlic version you tend to see. I wanted a nuttier rich flavored aioli instead so I turned to Kürbiskernöl and walnut oil instead. Kürbiskernöl hmm, you say. What the heck is that?! From Wikipedia (so it must be true): “a culinary specialty of south eastern Austria (Styria), eastern Slovenia (Styria and Prekmurje), north western Croatia (esp. Me?imurje), adjacent regions of Hungary, is a European Union Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product.. It is made by pressing roasted, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), from a local variety of pumpkin, the "Styrian oil pumpkin" (Cucurbita pepo var. styriaca, also known as var. oleifera). It has been produced and used in Styria's southern parts at least since the 18th century. The earliest confirmed record of oil pumpkin seeds in Styria (from the estate of a farmer in Gleinstätten) dates to February 18, 1697. The viscous oil is light to very dark green to dark red in colour depending on the thickness of the observed sample. The oil appears green in thin layer and red in thick layer. Such optical phenomenon is called dichromatism. Pumpkin oil is one of the substances with strongest dichromatism. Its Kreft's dichromaticity index is -44.[2] Used together with yoghurt, the colour turns to bright green and is sometimes referred to as "green-gold".” There are all sorts of stories of folk rememedies involving pumpkin seed oil. Give it a try, it has a wonderful nutty taste. I serve the aioli with shrimp, artichokes, asparagus, and potatoes. Feel free to use your imagination with accompaniments. Note: I like this a bit looser than a traditional aioli, it’s more of a hollandaise consistency than a thick mayonnaise. - Helen's All Night Diner
Helen's All Night Diner

Test Kitchen Notes

If mayo and hummus had a baby, this would be it. Helen's All Night Dinner's aioli is rich and nutty, with a good balance of garlic and lemon. The walnut oil is mild and adds just a hint of nuttiness, and that alone makes a very good version of an everyday aioli. The addition of the pumpkin seed (or in my case butternut squash seed) oil really adds a wonderful punch of flavor taking the aioli way beyond your average aioli. I tasted the aioli after adding half of the squash seed oil, and found the flavor to be a perfect marriage of garlic, nuttiness, and brightness. I recommend tasting as you add the pumpkin seed oil to suit your palate. It is a lovely accompaniment to grilled vegetables, and I can't wait to try it with steamed or grilled artichokes. Thanks for a wonderful recipe. - hardlikearmour —hardlikearmour

What You'll Need
  • For the Kürbiskernöl Aioli
  • 1 large organic egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • pepper, several grinds, or to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, grated on a Microplane
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil
  • 3 tablespoons Kürbiskernöl Austrian Pumpkin Seed Oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), optional
  • For the Accompaniments:
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 or 5 dried hot peppers, or to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 juice of lemon
  • 1 tablespoon panchpuran
  • 2 pounds shrimp, U31 - 40
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 4 artichokes
  • 1 pound new or red potatoes
  1. For the Kürbiskernöl Aioli
  2. Allow the egg to come to room temperature before separating.
  3. Whisk together the egg yolk, salt, pepper, and grated garlic clove. I keep my garlic in the freezer in a zip top bag. It’s a cinch to peel and thaws in about a minute.
  4. Slowly drip in the walnut oil, drop by drop until thickened. Then you can whisk in the walnut oil in a very thin stream
  5. Once it is all incorporated, slowly whisk in the Kürbiskernöl.
  6. Taste and adjust lemon, pepper, and salt to taste. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.
  1. For the Accompaniments:
  2. Bring the water to a simmer with the salt, dried hot peppers, bay leaves, lemon juice, and the panchpuran. Simmer, covered for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp, cover and turn off the heat. Stir after about 10 minutes and cover again. Let sit in the liquid until you are ready to eat.
  4. Poach a bunch of asparagus in lightly salted water with a pinch of sugar until tender. I used the purple asparagus I have in my garden.
  5. Use your favorite method to cook 4 artichokes, trimmed nicely. I prefer to use the pressure cooker here, can’t beat the 10 minute cooking time.
  6. Steam the potatoes until tender. I cooked them in the pressure cooker with the artichokes, saves time & a pan!
  7. To serve: Divide the aioli into 4 serving bowls. Arrange the shrimp on a platter surrounded with the vegetables. Dig in, glass of wine in hand! Feel free to toss the shrimp shells over your shoulder… Enjoy!

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Part time kitchen witch, full time foodie. KCBS Certified Barbecue Judge.

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