I was into nuts this weekend–mostly because I bought wine glasses.
See I had wine in my fridge left over from my party. But I felt weird drinking the wine in my circular non-wine glasses. I didn’t have wine glasses. So I went to Fish’s Eddie and bought some wine glasses for cheap. I celebrated this purchase by pouring myself a glass of wine. This happened on Friday.
But it was late afternoon–pre-dinner—and I was hungry. I didn’t want to drink wine on an empty stomach. So I decided to eat nuts.
I decided to cook the nuts in an improvosed manner. I dumped pecans and walnuts into a skillet. I cranked up the heat. I let them toast for a few minutes, then I added 1 Tbs of butter. The butter sizzled. The nuts cooked in the butter. I added some sticks of Thyme I had in the fridge; I sprinkled generously with sea salt and cayenne pepper. The resulting nuts were really tasty: a weird freakish accident of the kitchen that went splendidly with the wine.
Saturday night I attempted to repeat the magic. I realized what I’d done the night before: I made my own version of the Union Square Cafe nuts everyone writes so much about. That recipe tells you to toast the nuts in the oven for 10 minutes, add them to a bowl of butter, brown sugar, cayenne, Rosemary and salt and toss everything togehter. There is no skillet.
But what do the folks at The Union Square Cafe know? I’m the Amateur Gourmet!
So I decided to repeat my skillet magic. Only this time I’d add brown sugar too. I followed the same process from the night before—the nuts first, then the butter, I had no thyme left, but I sprinkled with salt, cayenne and then brown sugar. That’s when problems arose.
For example: the brown sugar started burning. I dumped the nuts into a bowl. Here they are:
They don’t look half bad, do they? And they didn’t taste half bad either. Except for the burning–that wasn’t so swell.
But there’s something about cooking nuts in a skillet with butter that leads me to believe it’s superior to the toasting them in the oven and adding butter later method. The nuts get crispy and carmelized and fragrant. I’m on to something here, I think. Or maybe it’s just the wine?