The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Tequila Chili Almonds

I love a nutty little nibble with cocktails, and I have developed many versions over the years.  These almonds are a riff on my Lemon Garlic Cashews, with a nod to the Bourbon Rosemary Pecans.   Whip up a batch of Fresh Citrus Margaritas and get ready to celebrate!

Look for raw, blanched almonds (with no brown skin) in the bulk bins or a Middle Eastern section or grocery.  I don’t like too much spice, but if you do feel free to add a bit of cayenne.

Tequila Chili Almonds

¼ cup fresh lime juice

1 Tablespoon tequila

1 teaspoon mild chili powder

¼ teaspoon cumin

2 Tablespoons kosher salt

3 cups raw, blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil (preferably non-stick) or parchment paper.

Mix together the lime juice, tequila, chili powder, cumin and 1 Tablespoon salt in a measuring jug.  Place the almonds in a bowl and pour over the lime juice.  Stir to coat the almonds and leave them to soak for 30 minutes, stirring a few times.  Scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure the chili powder gets onto the nuts.

Spread the nuts in one layer on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle the remaining 1 Tablespoon kosher salt evenly over them.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until a nice amber brown color.  Stir the nuts every 5 minutes, flipping them over and spreading them out evenly again.  Watch the last bit of cooking carefully, as these can burn quickly.  The nuts may feel a bit soft when you remove them from the oven, but they will crisp up. Cool on the pan.

The nuts will keep for a week in an airtight container.

Makes 3 cups

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