Let’s face it- salads can be deadly dull when they’re just a bunch of lettuce and dressing in a bowl. I like to jazz my salad up with an interesting toppings- feta cheese, bacon bits, preserved lemon. But nuts add the perfect mix of texture and flavor to make a salad more satisfying. If you want to really make your salad sing, make spiced nuts for a salad topper.
I started my search for the perfect spiced nut recipe by going to the experts. The famous chef, Emeril Lagasse makes Emeril’s Spiced Nuts, but I found the main flavor profile of cumin was a dull addition to my leafy greens. Next, I checked out Nigella Lawson’s recipe for The Union Square Cafe’s Bar Nuts. Her recipe includes rosemary…I’m not a fan.
Finally I settled on the recipe that inspired my nut-quest in the first place, the Hot Sweet Spiced Nuts from the Routt County Fair’s cookbook – Fair Family Favorites. This version has a sugar/cayenne glaze that makes these nuts a unique party snack or topping. This recipe uses a microwave oven for it’s preparation, so batches of nuts can be easily made for a crowd or gifts.
The one adjustment that that I did take from Emeril and Nigella’s recipes…they roasted the nuts before adding the coating ingredients. Why toast nuts if you are going to cook them? I found a great explanation, check out this Why Toast Nuts post on The Kitchn website.
Do you have a favorite spiced nut recipe? I’d love to know what seasonings you use and how you serve them. Leave a comment!