If there is one simple way to greatly enhance many recipes, it is this; roasting the nuts. When you roast nuts, you enhance their flavour and texture, making them ideal as a snack or addition to many savoury dishes. These crunchy, salty snacks become delightfully crispy in the oven. You will find that they are great to have on hand when friends drop by. Or, add them to many savoury dishes for textural contrast and the rich flavour they provide.
Preheat your oven to 180 Degrees C (350F).For easy clean-up, line a small baking tray with non-stick baking paper or aluminium foil.Spread the walnuts on the tray in one layer, ensuring there is space between them for the heat to circulate.
Roast the walnuts for 8-10 minutes, stirring them halfway through, until they are fragrant and lightly browned.
Remove the tray from the oven and place the walnuts in the centre of a clean tea towel. Bundle the towel into a pouch and rub the walnuts vigorously to remove as much of the walnut skin as possible.
Tip the walnuts into a colander and shake it to remove the fine particles of walnut skin.
Return the walnuts to the baking tray and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Return the tray to the oven for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and turn the walnuts onto some paper towel to absorb any excess oil.When the walnuts are completely cool, place them into an airtight container.
If you have purchased walnuts in the shell you will need a nutcracker, or, as I do, the flat side of a meat tenderiser, to crack the shell and remove the pulp. The flesh should appear plump and pale. Avoid those that are shrivelled or discoloured. Walnuts can go rancid quickly, so ensure they're as fresh as possible.
I always use olive oil for flavour and health benefits. However, you could use a mild-flavoured oil, such as grapeseed, if you prefer.
The Australian tablespoon is 20 ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries, the tablespoon is 15 ml or 3 teaspoons. You may need to adjust the recipe accordingly.
Different types of salt vary in their intensity. This is the amount I add when using Maldon Sea Salt flakes. If using another type, add it according to your preference and taste.
The nutritional information is based on one cup of walnuts. (Not an individual serve!)
You could customise the spicing to suit your taste; consider curry powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, chilli flakes, lemon thyme or rosemary.