Spanish Spiced Almond Tapa | Almendras Fritas
It’s here, folks: the last day for my cooking class discount giveaway. It’s been a wild three weeks, wherein I actually managed a twice-weekly blog posting schedule (albeit only with a number of very late nights), and where I made at least five giveaway winners very happy. Details and rules about the giveaway can be found here.
In honour of this last post in the giveaway series, I am focusing on nuts. The sponsor of the giveaway is my very favourite nut import company, Rancho Vignola. And I am, in general, a huge fan of nuts.
This recipe is one I have made a few times in my Spanish and Moroccan cooking classes, as a tapa to eat before class. It’s a very simple recipe that tastes VERY more-ish. The best kind of recipe.
Fried almonds (almendras fritas) are an authentic tapa in Spain – the almonds are traditionally deep fried and then salted (definitely) and spiced (frequently) and served either warm or at room temperature. I have adapted the recipe to be pan-toasted in olive oil; just as tasty and not so intimidating. I prefer the almonds while they are still warm – it makes for a more interesting eating experience – but they are still delicious at room temp. Feel free to play around with the spicing: add hot pepper, ground cumin, or lemon pepper. I prefer them the way I have written it – enough salt to make them snacky and a hint of smoked paprika for an exotic touch.
Don’t forget to comment here on this post or on my facebook fanpage to be entered in the draw for the cooking class discount. IT’S THE LAST CHANCE, FOLKS!
SPANISH SPICED ALMOND TAPA
Makes 1 cup, to serve 4. Recipe doubles easily.
This is a simple recipe. Feel free to use the same technique, but change or increase the spices to suit your taste – cayenne, cumin, or lemon zest are just a few ideas. I prefer to serve these while they are still warm, but they are still delicious at room temperature.
1 cup raw natural almonds
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp smoked sweet paprika
a few grinds of black pepper
Heat a large skillet over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the two teaspoons of olive oil. Add the almonds and stir to coat with oil. Toast the almonds, stirring almost constantly, until the nuts are lightly toasted, about 6 minutes (the nuts will start to give off a slightly toasted aroma, but shouldn’t have any dark or black spots on them). While the nuts are toasting, keep an eye on the heat. Every stove is different. If the oil is smoking or the pan seems otherwise too hot, turn down the heat. If the nuts don’t appear to be toasting, turn the heat up a bit.
Once you are confident that the nuts are lightly toasted, add the salt, the paprika and the pepper. Stir vigorously to coat the nuts evenly with the spices, and continue to stir constantly for another 30 to 45 seconds, until the spices are fragrant and the nuts are completely toasted. Immediately remove to a bowl and serve.