Anyone going to or giving a party in the next while? These nuts got more than their share of attention at a Christmas party in December and I’ll roast another trayful for a family party later this month.
Story goes, the recipe has lofty provenance! My introduction came from Kim O’Donnel but it may have originated with my favorite famous food person of all time, the late Laurie Colwin who called them “The Nuts” or “The Rosemary Walnuts;” such a signature dish, they were served at her funeral. Later Nigella Lawson published the recipe; the famed Union Square Café in New York City serves them as Bar Nuts.
Now I’ve adopted these not-too-sweet and not-too-spicy nuts as my own. In time, my friends will learn to expect them and walking in the door will think, “Oh good, Alanna made Those Good Nuts.”
And now? They’re yours too.
Over Christmas, I cooked like crazy for an entire day for my annual cookie swap, this year a champagne and hors d'oeuvres affair for a few women friends. (Aside: Does anyone else get stuck on "Horse Devours" and have to look up the spelling each time?)
All that effort and what got all the attention?
The nuts. I kid you not. The simplest easiest roasted ten-minute nuts.
“What is IN these nuts?” was the question of the night, one fingerful following another. The rosemary was familiar and yet unexpected, warmed with just a touch of sweetness and a tiny smidge of heat.
Next time, nuts to them. I’d best make a double batch.
PARTY NUTS with FRESH ROSEMARY
Time to table: 20 – 30 minutes
Makes 1 pound nuts
- 1 pound (about 2-1/2 cups) mixed nuts – pecans, walnuts, cashews, almonds, filberts, hazelnuts, etc. (see TIPS)
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves (no skimping)
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon or to taste cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (omit if nuts are pre-salted)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (for vegan and longer storage) or melted butter
Preheat oven to 350F.
Spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until aromatic and dark, longer for unroasted nuts, shorter for pre-roasted nuts.
Meanwhile, in a small food processor, chop the fresh rosemary until it’s chopped fine, it will take several pulses (add the sugar if it helps to “grab” the rosemary). Once the rosemary is ground, combine with the remaining ingredients.
Toss with the warm nuts, give them a few good stirs to really distribute the rosemary, letting the oil or butter adhere it all to the nuts.
Fills a home with a welcoming aroma! Best served warm or “recently” warm.
MAKE-AHEAD PARTY NUTS Combine and chop everything except the nuts. Just before guests arrive, roast the nuts, then toss with the rosemary mixture.
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