These spicy, crunchy, caramelized almonds are delicious served with JJ Johnson's Seared Skuna Bay Salmon with Ginger–Rhubarb Tea, but also work well as an addictive snack.
½ cup, chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil for frying
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper. Place the almonds in a small saucepan and completely cover them with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and let simmer until the almonds soften slightly, about 5 minutes. Drain the cooked almonds thoroughly.
While the nuts are still somewhat wet and hot, add them to the bowl with the sugar, salt, and cayenne mixture. Toss to coat evenly. Using a spider or slotted spoon, remove the coated almonds onto a sheet tray fitted with a rack and let stand until the almonds have cooled and the mixture has set, about 1 hour.
In a large nonstick sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil over medium-low heat. Fry the coated nuts until golden brown, stirring constantly until the sugar melts and forms a golden brown caramel coat, about 4 minutes. Move the caramelized nuts to the sheet tray fitted with a rack and cool completely. Once cool, coarsely chop the nuts by pulsing in a food processor. Store in an airtight container.