One of my favorite kinds of vinaigrettes for salads is with bučino ulje or pumpkin seed oil. Known as “green gold” in Austria (Styria to be exact), it is a also found in the culinary traditions of eastern Slovenia (which was once part of lower Styria) and north-western Croatia. The taste is absolutely fantastic and one of the healthier oils to use, but be sure to not ever attempt to cook with it as it apparently burns quickly and tastes terrible. I usually only use it in this vinaigrette, but it can be drizzled on just about anything to add a little extra flavor. And if you feel like being really adventurous, Austrians even use it in desserts, for example by drizzling it on vanilla ice cream. When buying it, make sure to buy pure pumpkin seed oil. In Croatia, you can get it pure or already mixed with another oil (usually sunflower), so if you aren’t paying attention you may end up with the wrong thing. It’s one of the more expensive oils, so that may be the reason you thought you were getting such a good deal!
For the vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons of pumpkin seed oil
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of white or apple-cider vinegar
- salt and pepper
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl or place into a jar with a screw cap and shake vigorously. Taste and adjust the seasoning or oils to your taste.
Serve on your choice of greens (I prefer butter lettuce, as shown in the pictures, or mache). Sometimes I also like to throw in some crushed walnuts, sunflower seeds, or cranberries for a little added texture and crunch.
Note: The dressing (and oil on its own) changes color depending on his viscosity, so when thicker it appears more reddish and the thinner it gets more and more yellowish-greenish.