Pecans au Poivre

For pepper lovers only, these nuts can definitely cause an addiction. The technique of cooking then first in a melted mixture of salt, sugar, and pepper creates a hard coating. This coating is then covered in the same mixture, but not cooked again, which results in a pecan with a sort of attractive, but weird gray dusting. Don’t grind the pepper too fine – keep it coarse.

For great contrast, serve these with triple-cream cheese, such as Explorateur.

Makes 2 cups.

2 tablespoons kosher salt
½ cup coarsely ground black pepper
½ cup sugar
2 cups lightly toasted pecan halves

1. Place the salt, pepper, and sugar in a medium-size bowl and toss to combine.

2. Place a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat and when it is hot add the pecans and two thirds of the sugar mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted and completely coats the pecans.

3. Remove from the heat, add the remaining sugar mixture, and toss until well dusted. Transfer the nuts to a large plate and set aside to cool before serving.

Not just for snacking: These are wonderful sprinkled over grilled steak (add some crumbled blue cheese, too) or tossed into fettuccini Alfredo or mashed potatoes with sour cream.

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)