Sounds odd, but think of it as croutons or as the crunchy fried noodles used in Indian chat snacks. Here’s my annotated version of Humm’s recipe.
1/2 cup canola oil (Humm fries the herbs in the oil, way too messy for my kitchen, so my big adaptation is to microwave the herbs for about a minute and a half until they wilt and start to dry, then chop them coarsely. They crisp up in the oven and the kitchen stays clean and cool. I use some of the oil to bind the granola)
1 cup basil leaves (I use more than a cup and mix in whatever leafy herb is fresh and available–parsley, cilantro, dill, even some arugala that was too bitter to eat fresh)
2 cups of puffed rice (Trader Joe’s puffed rice cereal works fine)
1 cup pine nuts (I’ve used chopped pecans and chopped, salted almonds)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (One time I forgot this and didn’t even realize it)
2 tbs. basil seeds (Not a pantry staple, and I’m not sure if these are a culinary or gardener’s seed, so I used ground flax seed)
2 tsp. Piment d’Espelette (Saveur recommends Zingerman’s at $16 for a 25-gram jar. These ground Basque peppers have a smoky flavor so I substituted paprika and Spanish paprika)
salt to taste (I.e., lots)
1 tbs minced garlic (One good sized clove)
1/4 cup corn syrup or honey (Yes, weird, but not really. I’ve used corn syrup and it helps everything stick together and gets that whole salty-sweet thing going that makes it hard to stop snacking on this stuff)
I read the recipe again for this post, and along with not frying the leaves, I also haven’t bother simmering the corn syrup to loosen it up. I just pour it in, but I will simmer next time, along with some of the oil, for better coverage.
I do bake it at 250, but not for the recommended 40 minutes, more like 20 minutes, with a toss and stir about halfway through.
I don’t have to tell you how to use it–sprinkled on cut fresh tomatoes, on a potato salad dressed with Romesco sauce, anywhere you’re looking for crunch. Maybe even on a peanut butter sandwich.