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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Snack Delicious With These Home-made Smoked Almonds

I will not be telling you about nutritional value or the infinite health benefits of almonds, the internet is full of such content. I will however, be telling you about flavours and memories, which are my absolute favourite things and are my ingredients for #FoodForSoul


There is a specific sophistication in the palate of smoked foods and I always find it delightful. From the popular smoked salmon to less popular smoked foods such as a most wonderful smoked basil ice-cream which I recently had at a restaurant in Barcelona and anything that resides in the levels in between the two, smoked foods are very interesting to say the least.

Therefore I chose to post a recipe for a smoked snack, because these days I am munching all the time and happily snacking away like they will disappear tomorrow!! And most delightful of snacks are those amazing smoked almonds. So I chose to share with you the recipe here and hope you love them as much as I do once you give it a try.
With that said and as you will read in the description below, I am also showing you how you can adapt this recipe to your preferred flavours and even type of nuts. 

Before jumping right into the recipe
Here is a bit of 
Levantine Entertaining & Love of Snacking

When we entertain guests, it is very common for the hostess to have placed a few bowls of assorted toasted nuts - in a variety of flavours - on the centre and side tables, so guests munch on them along with their drinks and until dinner is served. Sometimes even when friends visit, it is popular to serve these nuts among the other snacks and dips... In less formal and humbler societies nuts and seeds are very popular snacks that are usually taken for picnics and many people back in the day will have spent the whole afternoon and a big chunk of the night munching on these nuts and ceaselessly cracking seeds for the delicious little pearl of heart inside.
A little more back in time, people even took those same snacks to the much humblers forms of movie theatres that were present at the time. Once the movie was over and the lights were on the floor will have become no more and shells will have taken over to decor the ground of the theatre! Just imagine what amount of seed crackin will have taken place if there was any suspense in the movie!! :))

While back in the day it most likely was toasted, salted nuts or (less popular then than now) the raw nuts especially almonds, which are among my favourite snacks ever; in the recent decades many new flavours have emerged, from BBQ, to even cheese and I even once found a Mexican Jalapeno and cheese flavoured nuts... The variation is fun and allows you to play with themes, where even your choice of nuts can go with your whole menu or event's theme.

My favourite flavour is smoked almonds, however, you can choose to go with BBQ flavour, chili flavour or even cumin. Really any spice mix you prefer works well here. Also you can carry out the same recipe using walnuts, macademia or even cashews..
You might have to break the pieces apart as at home you do not have a revolver to revolve the nuts in order to keep them coated yet separate. But that is not such an issue really.

You Need
500g Unblanched almonds
1 egg white
2 tsp smoked spices*, BBQ spice mix or red chili for spicy almonds...
1/2 tsp unrefined salt (optional for more savoury flavour)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Preheat the oven to (325F/160C).

Slightly beat the egg white in a large bowl, then add the almonds and toss to coat them well with the egg white. Add the salt and smoked spices and rub the nuts between your palms (you can wear gloves if you must! or wash afterwards!) Make sure each nut is coated with the spice.

Spread in a single layer over the lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes making sure to turn twice throughout.

Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper over a wire wrack and leave to cool completely. Once cooled, break any stuck pieces and place in an airtight container. Store for up to 1 month.

Serve these almonds in small bowls for guests to munch on with their drinks, or as a snack for your family.

Smoked Spices there is a special mix called "Smoked Spices" that you can buy from spice markets and specialty stores that gives the exact flavour of spiced nuts you buy from vendors. However if you are unable to find this mix you can simply smoke your spices at home. A very easy way to do this is to place them in a foil bowl in a smoker with lit smoking chips (of course in a very well ventilated area) and smoke them until the chips burn out and the smoke fades. Another one is to use a smoking gun and place them under a smoking cloche and smoke them that way.

Go Nuts! Why not!
If you prefer to go smoked then check out the recipe on this link, you will love it!