Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cooking: Spicy Almonds

Our friend Holly brought these terrific spicy almonds to our Christmas sojourn at Mt. Rainier this year, so I thought I'd try a batch myself.

The original recipe appeared in the December 2008 issue of Bon App├ętit magazine. As usual with recipes, I tried a couple of things different. Here's my revised recipe:

Spicy Almonds

2 Tblsp peanut or canola oil
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 lb skin-on almonds (about 3+ cups)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

Add crushed red pepper, black pepper, and cumin. Swirl the pan to distribute the spices. Maybe turn on your vent fan, if you have one, because the aroma is pretty intense.

Add the almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until they are aromatic and slightly darker, about 8 minutes. They will sizzle and crack and smell heavenly.

Turn the almonds out onto a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. I used kosher salt, but any good sea salt would be great. Kitchen rant: I detest the taste of table salt (you know, the iodized kind) and certainly never use it for a finishing salt. Rant over.

Let them cool, then store in an airtight container so they stay crisp.

These are delicious with your favorite beverage. I think I will try them with a small wedge of stilton cheese and some juicy Fuji apple slices for my lunch on Monday.

So looking forward to that!

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