Spiced nuts have become a holiday tradition around here. And tomorrow is going to be the first of a few “nutty days”… Sheet pans fill the kitchen, spices abound, and the aroma of toasted nuts wafting through the house. This year I’m making three different varieties—my Curried Cashews with Currants, a delicious maple and walnut concoction that I love, and these pecans that evoke the warm and festive feeling I associate with late November and December.
Because spiced nuts are simple to make and not immediately perishable, they are a fantastic niblet (as the Man would say) to have on hand for a holiday party—last year I served them alongside cookies, chocolate truffles and a few cheeses at the Man’s pop-up shop parties in Ketchum. (They’re perfect with a whiskey cocktail…) But they also make a fun hostess gift, and because they ship well, they’re a hassle-free, homemade surprise for far-away family. Watch out Lindleys…
Have extra nuts at the end of the day? Put them into an airtight container in your freezer, and they will keep for quite some time (that is if you don’t scarf them down in the first week). Not only are they great as a quick snack (you can eat them right out of the freezer!) but they’re also fabulous in a salad. Assemble salad greens and radicchio, perhaps some leftover turkey, squash and Brussels sprouts from Thanksgiving next week, make a balsamic vinaigrette and throw the nuts on the top. Or simply combine greens with a sliced apple, and blue or goat cheese before tossing some spiced pecans in the bowl.
Happy Holidays! I can’t believe it’s that time already.
SPICED BUTTERY PECANS
- 1 lb pecan halves
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 cup butter, melted (or use Earth Balance for a vegan variation)
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until fragrant. Meanwhile, mix the five dry spice ingredients together in a small bowl. When the pecans have finished toasting, put them in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and toss to coat. Add the spices, and toss again. Add the agave nectar and lemon juice and toss one more time. Return the spiced pecans to your baking sheet in a single layer, and let cool completely.
Serves a crowd.