Seasoned nuts problem
I have a recipe for something called Mississippi Pecans. The pecans are toasted in the oven and then olive oil is poured over them along with a mix of fresh herbs, salt and brown sugar. The problem is that the seasoning tends to drop to the bottom of the container instead of sticking to the nuts. I am wondering if I should add more oil. What do you all think?
Recipe can be found here:
I would try roasting the nuts with the oil and spices already on them - that seems to make things stick better, in my experience. Also, you might want to use a finer type of salt, or use a mortar and pestle to grind your kosher salt fine. Chunky salt is useless in these applications, IMO.
I think they're using oil instead of butter to eliminate animal fat. I think melted butter works well to make herbs and seasoning stick, and it really doesn't take a whole lot.
I made a big bunch of seasoned cashews for the Holidays and used about 2 tbsp. of butter.
Popcorn salt yes, definitely. An egg white will help stuff stick but you'll end up with thicker coating, which may or may not be to your taste. I also feel like egg white keeps the nuts from becoming and staying crisp once they're roasted. I agree with monavano that butter might give you a little more staying power than oil, although I never have too much trouble with oil if I roast the nuts with the seasonings already on them.
the key to this method is make sure there isn't too much oil. You need enough to coat the nuts (I put my nuts in a big bowl and do the big flipping toss to make sure they all get a light coating). Then add the spices and repeat the big flip/toss. If there is too much oil, the herbs/sugar "drip" off the nuts along with the excess oil.
I actually do my nuts differently most of the time now. I mix the sugar/herbs/spices with some egg white - toss all the nuts in the mixture and roast until toasted. This results in much more of a "crust" on the nuts - not everyone is going for this type of coating but it is another option.
I let them cool completely and then they store in a ziploc (or whatever).
As far as how long they keep . . . . .I have no idea, they don't stay around long enough. But I've done them at least a week before a party and they are fine.
The key to using egg white for the binder is to make sure you bake them long enough that they start seeming dry in the oven - the coating will be a little soft when it comes out of the oven but it shouldn't seem overly wet (hard to really describe). I find if I under-bake them the nuts or coating don't have the crunch that I like (as someone else posted above).
I don't have an exact recipe anymore as I really just do it by feel now - and I hardly ever use the same kind of nuts each time, usually I do a mix of different nuts.
Here is the Nov/Dec '99 CI method, which works great:
8oz raw pecan halves
3/4t kosher salt
1/8t ground cloves
1/8t ground allspice
for the glaze:
1t brown sugar
1T unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper, spread pecans evenly, toast pecans 8 min, rotating midway through, until fragrant and a little browner. Put pan on cooling rack. Meanwhile, mix the dry seasonings in a largish bowl and set aside. Whisking constantly over medium high heat, bring glaze ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the nuts and continue stirring about 90 seconds, until nuts are shiny and pan almost dry. Dump the nuts into the bown with the spice mix. toss well. Return nuts to parchment sheet to cool.
This recipe includes variations for other spices, and you can use water instead of rum. I imagine juice or other alcohol would work, too. And I can't see why fresh herbs wouldn't work. It calls for kosher salt for a better crunch.
Everything sticks to the nuts just beautifully. I have doubled the recipe using the same bowls and pans and timing - that works perfectly, too. They keep for up to a week in a jar.