Saturday, October 6, 2012

Chile Lime Pecans

I have a thing for nuts.  Don't go there.  I know you want to, but just don't.

Let me expound upon that.  I really have a thing for candied nuts.  For nuts that are made better than their normal wonderful selves by things like cinnamon, cayenne pepper and of course, chocolate.  Those are the kind of nuts that I am always on the look out for, even with two tried and true recipes.  Cause, really, can you ever have too many nuts?

October's Bon Appetit came prepared to help you throw a party, from one dish mains to new and improved appetizers.   Appetizers that happened to include Chili Lime Cashews.  When first going through one of my magazines, I make sure to have a packet of page-taggers near by.  If something looks good, yummy, great potential, ect., I tag it.  The problem with this system is that there are always at least 8 tags by half way through the magazine.  So how do you know which ones you want to tackle first?  Well, that gets the tallest tag, of course.  Ok, it's not a fool-proof method, but the point I want to get across here is that those Chili Lime Cashews had the highest tag.  They were the winners of the first recipe to be cooked contest from October's BA magazine.  (It's quite a honor, really...)  I just had to find Kaffir lime leaves.

You know how this story ends.  I wasn't about to go conduct a Rockford-wide search of Asian food markets for lime leaves.  I happily took the shortcut the recipe so readily offered - no leaves?  Double the lime zest.  Got it.  Check the box.  Move on.

These were quick and easy.  When the hardest part of the recipe is taking pictures before it gets to dark out (which I failed this time around, hence no finished product.  I'm sorry), you know it's a simple one.  Unfortunately, the end results was also a little simple, a little lacking in any sort of va-va-voom (Mental note to self: start using va-va-voom more in blogging).  Maybe had I committed to finding the Kaffir lime leaves, the story would be different.  Maybe if I stuck with cashews and didn't trade in pecans, the story would be different.   But I didn't.  And so I'm left with just nuts.  Not a horrible thing, because I really do like nuts, just not as exciting as one might hope.

Chile Lime Pecans
Adapted from BA's October 2012 issue

Surprisingly not that spicy.  I think I might have liked them more had they had a little more heat to back up on.  I did add the sugar completely.  It felt weird not having sugar in there.  They are barely, hardly noticeably sweet, so it's a good balance.  They are over salty.  I would definitely cut back on the salt.

2 c. pecans
8 dried chiles de arbol
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt (cut back)
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. (heaping) ancho chili powder
2 Tbsp. lime zest (3-4 limes)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with either a silicone baking mat or tin foil (this will help will clean up later!)

In large bowl, toss all ingredients, except for lime zest, making sure pecans are well coated.  Spread out evenly on prepared baking sheet.

Roast 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until pecans are browned, toasted and smell heavenly (yes, that's a technical kitchen term).  Let cool to room temperature.  Toss in bowl with lime zest, covering nuts evenly.

If not serving immediately, keep in air tight container.

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