Last night, Adam and I had ourselves a little tapas party date, not so unusual for us since we love having lots (and lots) of small bites to chose from and taste. To start, we bought ourselves a beautiful rosé Cava we found at Trader Joe’s (just a fancy name for sparking wine from Spain). Then, we cut up some Manchego cheese, quite possibly my favorite cheese ever, made from sheep’s milk and is nutty, buttery and mild. In Adam and Joanne fashion, we generously drizzled olive oil over the cheese and served it with these wonderful nuts. Now, you could, of course, go to the store and buy some roasted almonds, but we only had raw almonds in the house and, as if by magic, also had fresh thyme that needed to be used up – don’t you hate it when you buy fresh herbs for a recipe and then have so much left over you fail to use it up in time? – Anyway, we heated up a large sauté pan to medium-low, added some fruity olive oil and our almonds, stayed close to make sure all our almonds were browning evenly (in other words, not burning), took them off the heat, sprinkled a bunch of fresh lemony thyme leaves and course sea salt then allowed them to cool (well, we waited as long as we could). These are perfect to make way in advance for a party, a date or just to have on hand for a snack, we also think replacing the thyme for rosemary or even just using course sea salt and freshly ground pepper would be delicious.
Almonds with Thyme and Sea Salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup raw almonds
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
course sea salt
Add olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until fragrant and slightly toasted, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the thyme leaves and a generous sprinkle of course sea salt. Spread out the almonds onto a baking sheet to cool completely.
Almonds can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.
Note: If you prefer, before cooking in the oil, you may remove the outer skin of the almonds by blanching them: Pour boiling water over the almonds and allow them to sit in the water for no more than 1 minute. Drain the almonds, rinse with cold water and pat dry with a towel. Now, the skins should easily slip off the almonds.