QUICK BITES

I’m not saying these recipes are uncooked necessarily but when you do apply heat, the attention on your part is minimal and the time goes fast. Besides being easy to pull together, they all require just one serving bowl or plate.

Roasted Nuts with Oil or Butter

Makes: 4 to 6 servings | Time: 15 minutes

Skip the oversalted canned nuts and impress your friends and family— with about 30 seconds of active work. Go with all one kind or combine; my go-tos are pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and cashews. I prefer to avoid premade mixes and buy the specific types of nuts I want in bulk whenever possible.

  • 2 cups (about 1 pound) unsalted shelled nuts
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil or melted butter
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 450 ° F. Toss the nuts in a bowl with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast, shaking occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool before serving; they will crisp as they cool.

Sautéed Buttered Nuts Even better tasting: Put 4 tablespoons butter (½ stick) in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter melts, add the nuts and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Be patient; higher heat will burn the nuts. As they cook, season with salt and pepper. Cool before serving.

Spiced Buttered Nuts Real bar food: Add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of any spice mixture, like chili or curry powder, to the mix. If roasting, toss the nuts with the spice at the beginning. If sautéing, add it to the butter as it heats.

Dry-Roasted Nuts You avoid extra fat, but these are still infinitely better than nuts straight from a jar or can: Try to buy raw nuts. Heat the oven to 350 ° F. Run cold water over the nuts and put them, still wet, in one layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt and put in the oven. Bake, without stirring, until they are light brown and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and serve or hold at room temperature for up to a few hours.

Roasted Pumpkin, Squash, or Sunflower Seeds You can also use fresh pumpkin or squash seeds (see pages 309– 311): Use the main recipe or any of the variations, baking at 350 ° F for about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally, until tan, or sautéing for about 5 minutes. Like nuts, they will crisp as they cool.

Roasted Pumpkin, Squash, or Sunflower Seeds You can also use fresh pumpkin or squash seeds : Use the main recipe or any of the variations, baking at 350 ° F for about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally, until tan, or sautéing for about 5 minutes. Like nuts, they will crisp as they cool.

Roasted Beans with Oil Instead of the nuts, substitute cooked or canned chickpeas, soybeans, black beans, or any other legume you like: If you cooked the beans yourself, it’s important that they’re tender but still intact. Drain them well and pat dry with towels before starting the recipe. Lower the oven heat to 425 ° F and use olive or good-quality vegetable oil, not butter.

Caramelized Spiced Nuts

Makes: 4 to 6 servings | Time: 15 minutes

Sugar and bit of spice make these only slightly more involved than the roasted nuts in the preceding recipe and even more addictive. Use all one kind of nut or a combination. Add seeds to the mix if you like; sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds all add flavor and texture.

  • 2 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups (about 1 pound) unsalted

Heat the oven to 450 ° F. Grease a baking sheet with the oil. Put a large skillet over high heat and add 2 cups water and the sugar. Bring to a boil and stir in the garam masala, cayenne, salt, and nuts. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, 5 to 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to low. Remove the nuts with a slotted spoon, letting the excess syrup drain off a bit and spread the nuts on the baking sheet. Be sure to turn off the burner when you’ve finished.

Roast the nuts for 10 minutes, tossing once or twice with a spatula. Remove from the oven and let cool— the sugar coating will be very hot, so resist sampling for a few minutes! The sugar coating will harden as the nuts cool. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 or 3 days.

Fiery Caramelized Nuts Substitute a tablespoon or more finely chopped canned chipotle chile with the adobo sauce for the garam masala.

Rosemary Caramelized Nuts Substitute 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary for the garam masala.

Miso Caramelized Nuts The miso flavor mellows after roasting. So go by your taste and the intensity you’re using; see page 39 for more details. Omit the spices and wait to add salt. When the liquid has finished reducing in Step 1, remove from the heat and stir in up to 2 tablespoons any miso. Proceed with Step 2. As soon as you can safely taste a warm nut, decide if you want to toss in more miso or a little salt before transferring to a bowl.

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