Pecan-Pumpkin Seed Aillade, a la Botanica

This week's recipe comes to us from our dear friend, food-writer, and co-owner of Los Angeles' beloved Botanica, Heather Sperling. Incorporating one of our most indispensable tools (and a favorite of Heather's on frequent rotation), this sauce can be made using a mortar and pestle, and is the perfect addition to veggie-based dishes.

A somewhat niche French sauce—borderline esoteric, even—this rendition was first introduced to Botanica through their first chef de cuisine, after an encounter with Suzanne Goin's version at AOC. Classically rendered, it's a sauce of pulverized nuts, garlic and oil, sometimes made with citrus, sometimes with herbs. In classic Botanica fashion, both are added, plus a touch of warming spice. It's marvelous with roasted vegetables, especially those with heft, like mushrooms or squash. It is also lovely spooned over shaved vegetable salads (dress lightly and plate with the aillade over/under/in between).

Pecan-Pumpkin Seed Aillade, With Roasted Hedgehog Mushrooms and Leeks


For 1.5 cups aillade:

2 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup toasted pecans
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice + zest from the orange
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Heaping 1/2 cup chopped parsley

For the vegetables, Roasted Mushrooms and Leeks:

3 leeks
3-4 cups hedgehog or chanterelle mushrooms (torn maitake or oyster mushrooms would also be nice)
Extra-virgin olive oil


To prepare the sauce, use a mortar and pestle to smash the garlic and salt until a paste forms. Add the pumpkin seeds and pecans and crush with the pestle until they're broken into small pieces (you're going for a granola-like texture here). Add the olive oil, vinegar, orange juice/zest and cinnamon and stir well. Add the parsley, stir again, and taste — it should be garlicky, nutty, a bit sweet, a bit salty—utterly delicious!

For the vegetables, trim the leeks so only the white and light green parts remain. Halve (or quarter, depending on their thickness), cut into 2" lengths, then pull the layers apart. In a large bowl, combine the leeks and mushrooms and coat with olive oil. Season with salt and turn out onto a parchment-lined roasting pan. Roast at 450F until mushrooms and leeks are softened and a touch carmelized.

To serve, spoon some aillade onto a plate. Top with mushrooms and leeks then add a few more spoonfuls of aillade, so that each bite of mushroom is accompanied by the garlicky, nutty sauce.