Recipe: Roasted Salted Almonds
Roasted Salted Almonds
A few weeks ago our lovely neighbour and elder of the village, Pepe, gave us a bucket full of almonds that he harvested from his own plot of almond trees. Almonds in this part of Andalucia are big business, not as big as Olives but still an important part of the local economy, and they are harvested during the autumn. Like olives they are manually shaken off the trees. The smaller landowners will literally have a group of friends with sticks, bashing the branches and a net underneath to catch them.
So what to do with unshelled almonds? First stop, a nutcracker. I bought a cheap one first (€4) which was my first mistake. On the THIRD NUT it just snapped in half while the almond shell stayed resolutely unharmed. Fine. I spent €10 on the next one (pictured above) and this was much more successful.
I would start this recipe with “Buy a decent nutcracker” but… I have a feeling that you may take the easier option of supermarket blanched almonds. Well, i don’t blame you. However the less factory processed the better so I’m going to start from the blanching part…
225g whole almonds in skins (or pre blanched if you don’t have the patience, see method below)
4 tbsp Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coarse sea salt
1 tsp Paprika (optional)
Preheat oven to 180c/350f/Gas Mark 4. Put the unblanched almonds in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for about 4 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl of cold water for a minute then drain them in a sieve. At this point you should be able to pinch one end of the almond and they will simply slip out of their skins. In reality I have found this isn’t quite what happens. Either you pinch one end and the almond flies out and shoots across the room or the skin needs to be peeled off, it’s a bit of a faff but as I’ve said before the skin-on almonds taste better!
Dry the blanched almonds on kitchen paper. Pour the Spanish olive oil on the baking tray so it covers the base. pour the almonds in and mix them about so they are all covered in the oil. Shake the tin from side to side making sure there is just one layer of almonds. Roast them in the oven for about 20 minutes. giving them a quick stir every 5 minutes or so. Keep a close eye on them… You are looking for a light golden brown colour, depending on your oven this can happen in less than 20 minutes and the transition from roasted to burnt can happen in seconds!
Once they are golden in colour, drain the almonds on kitchen paper and transfer them to a bowl. While they are still warm sprinkle liberally with course flakes of sea salt and the paprika (if using); give them a good mix so they are all completely coated.
To serve, I made a cone of newspaper lined with a piece of kitchen paper - a neat way to serve them at a party - or simply serve in your finest Spanish ceramic dish and pair with an ice cold Manzanilla sherry or a feisty gin & tonic. ¡Buen provecho!