Thursday, May 26, 2011

Roasted Almonds with Smoked Paprika, Lavender and Thyme


I've been nibbling on raw almonds lately, trying to kick my craving for tortilla chips and pretzels. Almonds have been satisfying — and are certainly more healthful — but I like my nibbly snacks salty. Really salty.

Roasting and salting the almonds is a simple enough solution, but then I'm back to munching mindlessly. I needed something in there to make me slow down and take notice.

The answer is one of my favorite cure-alls: smoked paprika. It's sultry and seductive, the kind of spice that makes me completely lose my train of thought. I tossed in a little lavender and thyme, and ended up with the kind of snack I can enjoy without overdoing it.

The paprika might make this too spicy for some kids — as always, adjust the seasoning to suit your own taste.

Roasted Almonds with Smoked Paprika, Lavender and Thyme

Be sure to use culinary lavender, available in specialty markets and natural food stores like Whole Foods. You can also snip some off a plant if you're sure it hasn't been treated with pesticides.

8 ounces raw almonds
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon culinary lavender, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well to combine. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and roast at 300 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste, and if you want to adjust the seasoning, toss the almonds in a bowl, add seasoning, and stir.

Let cool and store in an air-tight container.

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