Posh bar nuts are one of those cookery tricks that every girl should have up her sleeve. The first time I ever had fancy nuts was at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua in Maui, on a surprise trip with Mr. Gonzo (then a mere boyfriend). Served in a tiered silver dish, the nuts were meatier, saltier, richer than I’d ever had before, no offense to Mr. Peanut, whose roasted peanuts had been a family staple growing up.
Years later, I stumbled upon a recipe for spiced nuts in Oprah’s magazine, inspired by a recipe from the Union Square Café in New York City. All manner of chefs have their version of this recipe, from Nigella Lawson to Ina Garten to Oprah.
You can whip these up in about 20 minutes flat. Prepare them before your guests arrive, and they’ll be greeted by the smell of warm rosemary and toasted nuts as they waltz through your door. If by chance you have leftovers, store in the fridge in an airtight container, then reheat before serving for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave; you want them to be warm, not hot. At least, that’s how they were at the Ritz Carlton.
Union Square Spiced Nuts
Search the Internet far and wide, and you'll find dozens of versions of Union Square's spiced nuts. And no wonder; these are the perfect snack to go with your afternoon cocktail. Who needs dinner?!
- 1 pound unsalted mixed nuts (the original recipe called for mixed nuts; I've found all almonds or all cashews works nicely, too)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet, then toast in the oven until fragrant and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- As the nuts cool, combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
- Mix the nuts into the butter, stirring to thoroughly coat the nuts.
- Return to the oven and toast for another 5 minutes.
- Serve warm.