Saturday, September 10, 2011

Old Bay–spiced walnuts

Well, I’ve managed another week of unimpressive cooking. We continue to subsist on raw corn salads, juicy caprese-d tomatoes, and yellow summer squash. Don’t fret, dear readers, this was the last week for my beloved sweet corn and both Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes made their first appearances at the market this Thursday. I will have to make more than garlic bread soon. Also, I’ll have to make more garlic bread soon.
I did manage to make one autumnal dish this week—and wasn’t it just Tuesday when I promised to share my snack creations more readily? Let’s talk about spiced nuts.

I know, right? On a trip to Ireland at 13, my mother took me to see the first Austin Powers sequel. She says she knew I was growing up when, at the snack stand, I expressed to her how inappropriate it was that we were ordering “hot nuts” and seeing a movie based on a similar crude humor. Oh how we laughed. Those spicy nuts sure were tasty.
When making a small batch, I don’t bother with the oven and prefer to toast and spice my nuts directly in a sauté pan. Medium low heat, 1 cup of walnuts, 1 tablespoon of butter (to help the toppings stick), 1 teaspoon Old Bay, a pinch of sugar for balance, and a splash of Worcester for kick, right at the end.
Like potato chips and crab, walnuts are a perfect vehicle for Old Bay with their strong flavor and satisfying texture. And Old Bay—a blend of spices the likes of which this world has never seen! I love the warmth from the cinnamon and cloves, the peppery paprika, and deep leafy finish of celery. My advice? Get your hands on some hot nuts. (Mom, don’t be gross.)


  1. I remember how hilarious y'all thought you were and are!

    It would be really cool to do a frame by frame montage if your market hauls at the end of 2011!

    Do you think I can substitute butter with evoo or something?

    Ps love the photos!

  2. Yes – you just need something to wet the nuts and bind the spice!

  3. Brussels sprouts. Can't wait to see what you do with those!

  4. @ Mary Ruth: You're kidding right? No comment?