Monday, December 31, 2012
A perfect snack for a cocktail party. Bar snack. Salty, crispy, addictive. A good gift, too.
(We nearly left our barstools at the legendary Clover Club on Smith Street, yesterday- we'd been there for 10 minutes, an eon, ignored, before a new bartender showed up and paid attention to us. We were glad we stayed. One of our bar snacks was freshly fried chips - crisps - still hot, and crisped in none other but duck fat. They were snug inside a white linen napkin, and were accompanied by a dish of aioli. Perfection.)
These pecans, though, are good, too. And because of them the Frenchman appreciates me all over again. My Aunt Yvonne used to make these. Outside their beautiful old house in Paarl, they have a pecan tree. And she would shell the nuts herself, and then roast them. I think her recipe is a little different - my cousin Kate says she uses butter.
This sounds too simple to be good, I know. Trust me (I am not Fozzie Bear - trust me: watch the whole thing. Now if only Harry Belafonte were coming over drinks...).
1lb fresh pecans
4 tablespoons soy
2 tablespoons sugar
Heat the oven to 350'F/180'C
Lay the nuts in a single layer in a roasting pan (or two, if one is not big enough to hold them). Sprinkle the soy over, and then the sugar. Toss the nuts to coat them as thoroughly as possible. Place them in the oven and roast them for 15 minutes. Check on them every five minutes, shaking the pan every time to turn them.
Once they are browned and the sugar and soy have caramelized, remove from the oven and let them cool. Shake the cooling pan/s every now and then, or pry the nuts loose with a spatula to stop them from sticking.
The magic: as they cool, they turn crunchy inside a wildly delicious thin caramel shell.
When completely cool, store them in glass jars. Or set them out with drinks and snacks.
They disappear very, very fast.