My mother never served appetizers at holiday dinners. Her philosophy: I don’t want people filling up on snacks when I’ve worked so hard on this meal. This philosophy came from experience. The few times my mother served an appetizer it was usually toasted almonds.
No ingredients were measured. Mom simply melted some butter in a skillet, added whole almonds, and toasted them over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the nuts were brown and crisp she put them in a serving bowl and sprinkled them with salt. Everybody loved this appetizer.
You can find similar recipes almost anywhere. Sometimes the almonds are toasted in olive oil and seasoned with Worcestershire sauce and curry powder. I searched the Internet for curried almond recipes and found one from the Lakewinds Country Manor in Toronto, Canada. This recipe is pretty much the same as one I made years ago, a recipe for spiced almonds or pecans. Whole nuts are coated with seasoned, beaten egg white and baked in the oven until crisp.
The recipe below may be used for spiced or curried almonds; take your pick. In my experience, room temperature egg white is easier to beat if it is room temperature. Watch the egg white carefully. You want it to be stiff, but not dry, and the difference is only a few seconds.
Cool the nuts completely before putting them in storage containers. If you run short of coating, as I’ve oven done, just beat another egg white and seasoning. Doubling the recipe from the start will save you time.
1 large egg white, room temperature
2 tablespoons Garam Marsala, OR curry powder, OR cinnamon
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound whole almonds
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a jelly roll pan with baking spray and set aside. Put egg white, Garam Marsala, orcurry powderm or innamon, sugar, and salt in a deep bowl. Beat with electric mixer on high until the egg white is glistening and stiff. Add a handful of almonds to this mixture and coat each one well. Transfer nuts to baking pan. Continue this way until all the nuts are coated. Make sure no nuts are sticking together. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove nuts from oven and turn them over with a spatula. Return nuts to oven and bake 10 minutes more, or until they are toasted and crisp. Cool completely before storing.
I put my nut gifts in decorative glass jars, available from hobby and craft stores. You may also put them in wide-mouthed Mason jars. Tie a bow and tag onto each gift. Include the recipe if you wish. Nibbling is allowed when you’re making this recipe.
Copyright 2013 by Harriet Hodgson