A tasty little snack for New Years Eve, or at any time when you have friends, family and a few drinks around. It also serves my mania for using up leftovers, as most of us have a bowl or two of nuts hanging around for the festive season that never get finished.
You can use any kind of nuts for this, best of all a mixture. If they are still in their shells, get out the nutcrackers, otherwise proceed whenever you have a spare ten minutes.
You will need:
A quantity of nuts suitable for your appetite, or whatever you have leftover.
Some sea salt – Maldon salt is ideal.
Fresh ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper (optional)
The tiniest quantity of oil to get things going
A large, heavy frying pan.
Some kitchen paper, a cloth or a towel that you don’t mind getting oily.
A large mixing bowl
Several serving bowls, plates or dishes
Put the pan onto a medium heat, and let warm through. Drizzle a very small quantity of oil into the pan, then add the nuts. Keep shaking, stirring and agitating, and watch them like a hawk; some nuts can burn in an instant. You may need to turn down the heat under the pan once everything is heating up nicely. Depending on the variety, some of the nuts will begin to exude their own oils.
The nuts will have taken on a little colour, and be giving off a wonderful toasty aroma within minutes. That’s all the cooking they need: tip out onto your absorbent paper or cloth to get rid of any excess oil. Put into the large bowl, sprinkle with the sea salt, the pepper, and the cayenne if using. Shake them well to distribute the seasonings.
Serve while still warm and put them in bowls, plates or dishes where your guests can reach them; they will be consumed within minutes.
Happy New Year!