There were many contenders vying for the spot of wedding day giveaway, and the criteria was stringent. You had to be a crowd-pleaser (snacky, easy to eat), a perfectly balanced combination of salty, savory and sweet, big-patch perfunctory, and have a name with a pun. Oh, paprika roasted chickpeas? Don't you mean, Two [Chick]Peas in a Pod!? But then, you had to last a week at room temperature too...sorry moldy chickpeas. You were so good when you were fresh.
At some point in this process, I recalled a friend's amazing nut mix; one so tasty it stood out in my mind though I hadn't tasted it for years. It seemed like the type of recipe that had been sustained through generations, but ironically, it was from Food Network! Anyway, these nuts past the test. They are smoky and spicy thanks to a generous smattering of chipotle powder, citrusy-sweet due to maple syrup and fresh orange juice, and fireplace-cozy herbacious thanks to generous fresh rosemary. And they're salty, thanks to, uh, salt.
With such as a spot-on flavor combo I knew I couldn't lose, but they had to pass the storage taste-test, and a batch divided (if I ever write a novel this will be it's title) lived in the freezer, fridge, and at room temperature for a week. I conducted a blind test of each nut (sample size: 4 people) and everyone had the same reaction: they were just as good as on the day they were made, and no one could tell the difference between the three. I suspect the shelf life is pretty long.
The witty name? Rachel and Adam, nuts about each other! (Also just plain nuts). Enjoy this recipe, it is so relevant as we approach the Fall holiday season. I'll see you again in two weeks after my trip to Croatia, hopefully armed with at least one peka recipe, the signature dish of the Dalmatian Coast.
Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts (from Barefoot Contessa)
Makes 7.5 cups
2 Tbsp Canola oil
3 cups whole roasted unsalted cashews (14 ounces)
2 cups whole walnut halves (7 ounces)
2 cups whole pecan halves (7 ounces)
½ cup whole almonds (3 ounces)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
¼ cup minced fresh rosemary leaves, divided
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Brush a sheet pan generously with vegetable oil. Combine the cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds, Canola oil, the maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder on the sheet pan. Toss to coat the nuts evenly. Add 2 tablespoons of the rosemary and 2 teaspoons of salt and toss again.
3. Spread the nuts in one layer. Roast the nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice with a large metal spatula, until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a pinch more salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary.
4. Toss well and set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking as they cool. 5. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or cool completely and store in airtight containers at room temperature.