– by Nicola Graimes
Roasting intensifies the flavour of nuts (and seeds) as well as giving them more of a crunch. You get a more even roasting and colour if this is done in the oven, rather than in a dry frying pan, but if you only need a small quantity, then pan-toasting makes more sense. If I happen to be using the oven, I make the most of the space and heat by toasting the nuts in bulk; they’ll keep for a week or so in an airtight container.
Makes: 2–4 handfuls Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients: 2–4 handfuls of shelled nuts (or seeds) of choice
Preheat the oven to 180ÅãC/350ÅãF/Gas 4. Line one or two baking sheets with baking parchment and put the nuts (or seeds) in an even layer on top. Place the sheet(s) in the bottom half of the oven and roast for 12–15 minutes (6–10 minutes for seeds), turning twice, until toasted and evenly browned. Keep an eye on them as they can burn easily. Alternatively, for small quantities of nuts (or seeds), put them in a dry, heavy-based frying pan in an even layer. Toast over a medium-low heat for 8–10 minutes (5–7 minutes for seeds; 2–3 minutes for small seeds such as sesame), regularly shaking the pan, until toasted and evenly browned. Leave to cool and store in an airtight container.
If you regularly eat nuts and seeds it pays to buy them in large quantities. If packed in a plastic bag, transfer them after opening to an airtight container and store in a cool place – even the fridge or freezer – to keep them fresh. You don’ t have to defrost nuts and seeds before use.
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