Most people have a chef or cookbook writer whom they trust eminently—whom they’ll follow down any unfamiliar path with the confidence that whatever dish they’re venturing to make will range somewhere from really good to ridiculously delicious. For many, it’s Martha and Ina (count me in the latter camp for weeknight dinners). But if I have actual time to cook, it’s Suzanne Goin. My copy of the LA chef’s first book, Sunday Suppers at Lucques, is so stock-splattered and worn that it automatically flops open to the pages of the recipes I turn to the most—the chard tart with pine-nut relish, the skirt steak with black-olive aïoli, and, most of all, the chile de arbol-fueled kabocha-squash-and-fennel soup with pepitas. The soup takes about half a day to make. But those buttery pepitas, cumin-scented and honey-soaked, can be done in about ten minutes, and they make for a fantastic snack on their own.
Suzanne Goin’s Candied Pumpkin Seeds
Serves 4, as a snack
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon sugar
Generous pinch of cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and paprika
1 teaspoon honey
Salt, to taste
In a small pan, toast the cumin seeds until they release their aromas and start to brown. Pound them in a mortar until they are coarsely ground, and set aside. In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds, sugar, cumin and other spices, and a pinch of salt, and toss until the seeds are coated. Cook for a few minutes until the seeds start to color and begin to pop. Remove the pan from the heat, and wait 30 seconds. Add the honey, then toss the seeds again until they are well coated. Spread them on a plate and let cool before serving.