Five Tastes Nut Mix
When the craving for nuts strikes, here's a special, easy-to- make, grown-up mix you can serve with drinks or simply eat on the run for a needed protein hit. This nutty mélange is fabulous with apps and pairs beautifully with Castelvetrano olives and a cave-aged vegan Blue, or a sheep's milk, six-month Manchego.
These delicious, sophisticated nuggets hit all the right notes. What a great way to resonate the five tastes--salty, sweet, sour, bitter, savory. It's a nut mix on flavor steroids that appeals to our basic instincts.
This killer combination is dangerous. Definitely invite friends over so that you don't eat it all in one sitting by yourself.
1.5 cups whole pecans
1.5 cups pistachios
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup*simple syrup made from organic cane sugar (1:1 sugar to water)
1 Tbs. dark brown sugar (muscovado or turbinado)
4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp toasted fennel seeds
preheat oven to 300 F
Toss nuts, simple syrup, and spices (minus the toasted fennel seeds) together in a bowl until the nuts are nicely covered. Spread the mix evenly on a baking tray and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until toasty and smelling irresistible. You may want to give the pan a one-eighty turn mid-baking. While the nuts are in the oven, toast fennel seeds in a dry pan over low heat. When the nuts are done baking, remove the tray from the oven and sprinkle the fennel seeds over the top.
Let the nut mixture cool until it gets a shiny glaze. Use a spatula to break up the mixture and fold in the dried cherries. The trail mix may remain a bit sticky for a while. You can keep the trail mix in an open container to make sure the nuts are completely dry before storing. This allows the simple syrup to get a more brittle-like consistency.
*Simple syrup: Bring 1/4 cup organic sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool or place in freezer to cool down quickly. You can add a TINY splash of maple syrup or Calvados brandy to the syrup before boiling for a slightly different flavor profile.