Monday, September 26, 2011

Maple Rosemary Walnuts

This is a savoury cocktail snack that is secretly so easy and so addictive it ought to be illegal. Whole walnuts caramelized in a dry pan with maple syrup, a few finely chopped sprigs of rosemary, some flaky salt caramelize in a dry pan in a about five minutes. Who knew that "tree blood," and some herbs would be so delicious? The walnuts taste woodsy, sweet, bitter and salty, and a little bit like Thanksgiving stuffing. Obviously you could skip the rosemary, but then you'd just have Maple Walnuts, which doesn't have quite the same ring.
This recipe is the time to use that fancy flaky sea-salt, it adds the right amount of salty addictiveness without dissolving, so you only need a liberal sprinkle once the walnuts come out of the pan. Spread them on a baking sheet and once they cool, you have a sweet savoury snack- food, that takes the edge of pre-dinner hunger pangs, adds bite to salads and tames the effects of D.I.Y. cocktail party drinks. That is if you can keep them around long enough.

Rosemary Walnuts

2 cups walnut halves
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
pinch of kosher salt

In a small bowl, stir together maple syrup, rosemary, and a pinch of salt. Heat a dry skillet (I used nonstick) over medium-high heat. Add walnuts to the hot skillet and pour in maple syrup mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until maple syrup has caramelized, about 3 minutes (it will coat the walnuts and the pan will look almost dry). Spread walnuts out on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a bit more salt if desired. Let cool.

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