When I was young, I loved to fly; or more specifically, I loved going to the airport when we had to fly, or went to pick somebody up. Why? Because of the
“nuts”, I mean “club”, the club. The Horizon Club was a destination in itself (now known as the Alaska Airlines Boardroom). I loved that you had to ring the doorbell as if entering a secret hideaway, then were whisked away to a room that had swanky furniture and private TV’s (swanky as it got in the 70’s). A women dressed in uniform would come by and take our beverage order, letting us know that we should help ourselves to the food. Yes please, I’m in.
Of course, me being me, even back then, I was in it for the food! The winning combination, I could always count on, and highly anticipated, was the fresh orange juice, warm doughnuts and hot roasted nuts. There was a bright red electric wok that kept a vast quantity of cashews warm, as if just freshly roasted. I don’t think a hot nut ever passes my lips without recollecting the satisfaction I got from scooping them out into my own little cup, salt hanging onto the warm silken skin that was toasted to the color of perfection.
The doughnuts were warm too, which I realized, made them the perfect texture and elevated their standing into that of a decadent dessert. The orange juice was not what we drank at home; it actually tasted of orange and exploded with flavor and substance that went equally well with the doughnut or the hot nuts.
I remember thinking how clever it was to use the electric wok, which elevated the deliciousness of the nuts, and noticed we had a similar vessel tucked up near the back, over the top of our refrigerator. I never got it down though, to try it at home. The sight of it made me crave nuts, specifically, warm cashews, and I now wonder why I haven’t done this myself, for a party, or a potluck (not that I can truthfully say I’ve attended any in recent memory, but I might just do it!). I rarely eat warm nuts anymore anyway and even though I look, I don’t see them in “the club” anymore either.
Rosemary & Black Pepper Roasted Cashews
Recently, I had purchased a bag of organic raw cashews from the bulk bin and decided they might benefit from a little time in the oven. So, I emptied them out onto my baking tin (AKA, pizza pan) and drizzled just one drop of olive oil over the center. I then rolled them with my hands to coat, ever so slightly, so as to welcome the flakes of salt to hang on.
Sea salt (the flaky kind), just a pinch, was rubbed between my fingers to break up the crystals and distribute over the nuts. The pepper, copious amounts, ground fresh from my mill. Next up, fresh rosemary, my favorite Winter friend, was removed from it’s stem, chopped, sprinkled over and massaged onto their skin.
The oven was waiting at 350-degrees, to make them golden and warm. Ten minutes later, they emerged and asked for a moment of rest. More salt was rubbed over, a little pepper again and a final rub from a fresh stem of rosemary (break the pines with your finger to release the oils from the herb).
Once they have rested, ever so briefly to develop their crunch, they are best eaten as every good roasted-nut should be eaten, right then and there, whilst still warm (or even hot).
This snack traveled to California with us over the weekend (don’t worry, the pups were well taken care of by “Unca” Pete). Albeit cool, rather than hot, I still shared them with my traveling friends. We weren’t sitting in “the club”, but fresh orange juice still washed them down.