The first snow has fallen and in a few days we will assemble with family and friends to give thanks for the harvest and all of life’s blessings. I love this holiday which is centered around good food, gratitude and tradition. If your family is anything like mine, there are certain expectations for table offerings that make the statement, “Thanksgiving!” Turkey, of course, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, seasonal vegetables, cranberry relish, and a special dessert are a must have and then anything else someone wants to contribute is always welcomed. Believe me when I say, nobody goes away hungry. Tradition sets the menu but there are two items that always give me pause; appetizers and choice of vegetable side. Since neither are the star, I like to elevate their status by preparing something memorable but not too heavy. I allow the market finds, what looks the freshest and best, to dictate my vegetables but what to put out for munching before the meal? Nobody wants their guests to be full when they sit down for dinner especially after all the planning and work that has gone into making this feast, so something light. This leaves me to today’s featured recipe, a holiday favorite that can be made in advance.
I first tasted these nuts at the home of my sister, Margie, and was struck at how simple yet delicious they were. A favorite of her family, she gave me her recipe. I admit, true to form, I had to change it up a bit but still credit her with the idea. The almonds are light, healthy and crunchy and make perfect munchies at parties or as a bite while resting the bird.
Here is how it goes down at my abode.
OLIVE OIL ROASTED BLANCHED ALMONDS 2c
Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis
2c raw almonds w skins
Boiling water to cover
2t extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Place raw almonds in a bowl.
Cover with boiling water and allow to sit for 60 seconds, no more or they get mushy.
Drain and rinse in cold water.
Place almonds on a lint-free cotton dish towel and blot to dry.
Pop off almond skins using index finger and thumb.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Coat almonds with olive oil; 1t per 1c almonds.
Roast for 15-20 minutes, shaking nuts halfway through the process to allow for even roasting.
Immediately remove nuts from baking sheet placing them on paper towels. Salt while warm.
Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container away from heat and light.
These will keep a long time if kept in an airtight container and stored in a cool dark place.
Note: You can play with the flavors by dusting lightly while they are warm with curry powder, smoked paprika, or a bit of cayenne or chili powder for some heat.
In addition to serving these as an appetizer paired with a cheese board offering a selection of three artisan cheeses (or whatever makes you happy). They make a good healthy snack or can be used in salads or as a topping for vegetables. This year they will serve triple duty for me. Served with the cheese platter on Thanksgiving as an appetizer, as a topping for my roasted carrots with soy, ginger, maple glaze (hopefully rainbow carrots but that remains to be seen), and then on the table with other bites for a cocktail party the following day. Multi-tasking! I love it!
Here’s hoping you enjoy these versatile little snacks as much as my family does. Warning ! They are addictive. The only problem I foresee is keeping them in stock. Seriously, I have to hide them from my husband.
I want to take a moment before closing to extend my heart felt gratitude to all of my readers and followers. You are the reason I write this blog and I am doubly blessed when you write your comments, stories and questions. Whatever graces your table this Thanksgiving, know I am deeply grateful to you and please, keep spreading the love, one dish at a time. May all your Thanksgivings be blessed with good memories. Jeanne