Cumin-Cayenne Cashews, Pine Nuts, and Pistachios

These are at once buttery, spicy, and peppery. I don’t know what it is about this particular combination of flavors – the soft, buttery cashew and the potent, earthy cumin – but these mixed nuts are staggeringly yummy.

If you don’t want to use cumin seeds, simply substitute half the amount of ground cumin and add it when you add the salt.

Makes 2 cups.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups mixed raw cashews, pine nuts, and shelled pistachio nuts
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Place a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it is very hot, add the nuts. They should sizzle when they hit the oil. Cook, stirring constantly, until they turn reddish brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they turn brown, about 30 seconds.

2. Remove the nuts from the skillet with a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel to drain, sprinkle evenly with the salt, cayenne, and black pepper, and set aside to cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

If you’re sipping: Serve these with beer or a full-bodied white wine.

From Party Nuts! 50 Recipes for Spicy, Sweet, Savory, and Simply Sensational Nuts That Will Be the Hit of Any Gathering (The Harvard Common Press, 2002)