Roasting Almonds

It’s a simple problem, with a simple solution.

The problem is that raw almonds are too sweet and unfocused to enjoy on their own, while most roasted almonds you can get at the store are dry and unenjoyable. Do not speak to me of the overpriced “Marcona” almonds sold to suckers at places like Whole Foods. They’re greasy and have all the character of frozen okra.

What you want to do is roast your own. Here’s how to do it. Equipment:

Figuring out when they’re actually done is somewhat problematic. Roasting nuts is a tricky business. If you under-roast them, then they will taste raw, and you will have spent time and energy for no particular reason. As they approach “perfectly roasted,” they will taste better and better. Then, there is a magical, awful line across which the nuts move from “perfectly roasted” to “burnt and inedible” in a matter of seconds. Finding and avoiding that line is a matter of experience. The almonds will continue to roast for a bit after you remove them from the oven, so for your first attempts it’s probably better to take them out too soon rather than too late.

Once they’re out, take another big handful of salt and throw it over the almonds. The double-salting is one of my secrets to great almonds (the other is simply using almond oil, rather than the peanut or sunflower oils used to roast most commercially processed almonds). You can taste them at this point, but right out of the oven they will be soft and mealy, and not worth eating. Let them sit, and cool, and harden. When they are completely cool, transfer them to a jar, and enjoy.

Eat them however you want to. I like them with slices of apple, and oil-cured olives, and cheese.