How often do you sit around mindlessly eating nuts, either as a snack or a catalyst to drinking more beer? We have not made a batch of spiced nuts recently though their allure reaches beyond the bar and thoughtless snacking. Spiced nuts can have impact. They have a purpose. They weave spices and seasonings, sugars and even acid with rich toasty nuts. Flavors we would not think of eating come together deliciously in the nut bowl.
Borrowing from the bowl of nuts we have rethought the delivery of spiced nuts. Sure snacking on just nuts can be good, though what if we were able to integrate the complex flavor into a dish? Our leap into revisiting spiced nuts started with cashews. We seasoned them with smoked paprika, honey, salt and sherry vinegar. We Added some water to the mix and cooked the nuts to blend the flavors and soften the nuts. Once the nuts were tender we pureed them into a smooth paste. After passing them through a fine mesh sieve we spread the mixture onto acetate sheets. To add another element, we zested cashews on top of the paste and then placed the sheets into our dehydrator. Once the paste was dry we ended up with a thin delicate crisp of spiced nuts, a far cry and still close relative to the inspiration of spiced nuts. While this scenario had us making a thin crisp I can think of numerous other extrapolations with spiced nuts: a fine powder, as a "butter," a soup, and of course an ice cream.