When I was younger the first thing I remember making for Christmas dinner was a Boston Bibb Lettuce Salad with Hot and Sweet Spiced Pecans, bleu cheese and a dressing that came from children's cookbook. It started with my mom letting me put lettuce on the plate and shake the dressing, but as I grew, I learned how to do the other parts. The pecans were always the most daunting and complex part of the culinary endeavor, but as a adult, they're really quite simple.
Ahh...we grow up so fast.
Sugar, cumin and red pepper flake give these pecans a sweet start and a hot finish.
I would strongly suggest using cast iron for this recipe, or at very least a heavy bottomed pan. With hot oil and sugar, don't even think of messing with the non-stick stuff. I'm lucky enough to have my Grammie's old cast iron skillets -- complete with 50+ years of seasoning.
Toasted and sticky, awaiting a spicy bath.
A quick toss in the spices and you're all set. Enjoy on a salad or all alone. They're also a great holiday goodie to share with friends.
Hot and Sweet Spiced Pecans
2 cups halved pecans
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
Over medium heat, warm peanut oil in a cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed pan. Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and continue stirring until sugar melts and turns a light brown. Add pecans to pan stirring for 1-2 minutes, until pecans begin to toast and are evenly coated with melted sugar.
In a large bowl, combine remaining sugar, salt, red pepper flake and cumin. Toss pecans in spice mixture until evenly coated. Remove pecans to a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
Serve once pecans have cooled and sugar has hardened.