Salty Spicy Toasty Almonds

This almond recipe is super simple, easily vegan (if you substitute the butter), really tasty, a bit wintry and Christmassy and absolutely perfect for cocktail hour.

I don’t remember where I got the idea for these almonds from originally, I think I saw a recipe for something similar in the Christmas edition of some food magazine about a decade ago. Wherever they came from, I’ve been making them pretty regularly ever since, not just at Christmas but all the time. They are fantastic for any kind of dinner party or drinks gathering where they go particularly well with a dry martini or a gin and tonic.

So, there is no real recipe to reproduce because I just add whatever amount of each ingredient feels right at that moment, and suggest that you do the same, you’ll get the feel for it after you’ve made them just once or twice. The only thing that I’ll specify is the ratio of salt, pepper and cayenne, this works for me, but again you can change it.

This is all pretty straightforward, the only thing to pay attention to is to make sure that you buy raw almonds, not those that have already been cooked in any way. You can buy them with skins on or off, obviously starting without skins is easier because they are a bit of a pain in the ass to peel. Oh, and just in case you didn’t know, almonds are not nuts!

Salty Spicy Toasted Almonds

Gather together some:

  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Almonds
  • Soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Sea salt – 3 parts
  • Black pepper – 1 part
  • Smoked paprika – 1 part

and then

  1. If you have almonds with the skins still on, then peel them first. The easiest way is to plunge them into boiling water for about 30 seconds, and then straight into ice cold water, the skins should shrivel and wrinkle and will then be really easy to slide off of the almonds.
  2. In a pestle and mortar grind together the salt, black pepper and cayenne, and set aside.
  3. Melt a bit of butter with a splash olive oil in a heavy based frying pan.
  4. Add the almonds to the pan and fry them in the butter over a medium heat until they turn golden brown all over. You will need to stir and turn them constantly as they burn very easily.
  5. Once the almonds are golden brown, add a couple of dashes each of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, and stir them on the heat for another half a minute or so.
  6. Using a plastic bag, tub, jar or whatever else you have to hand, combine the almonds and the ground spices and give a good shake to coat them evenly.
  7. Pour the almonds out onto a flat surface and leave to cool completely before putting them into a jar or other airtight container. If you put then in a container while they are still hot they will go soft really quickly.

That’s it, whip up a round of G&T’s or just a nice cup of coffee if you prefer, and munch on some yummy spicy nuts.

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