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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Parched pecans

My dad used to parch pecans in the winter. He used my grandmother's recipe that called for pecans, butter, and salt on a bread pan. Grandmother sold these in the curb market on Friday afternoon's in Smithfield. It was one of the ways my grandparents made their living.

I've changed the recipe a little. You probably expected that. I start with the iron skillet.


I add pecans. It'd be better if I shelled the nuts myself, but that is so not going to happen anytime soon.  I also drizzle more than a little olive oil on the nuts in the pan, and then sprinkle on more salt than you'd think proper. 

C'mon! You know you need to give that potassium-sparing diuretic a workout.


I bake the nuts in the pan sitting on a cookie sheet at 300 degrees (F). Yes, this is an American recipe. The reason for the cookie sheet is that I really don't have anywhere else to put it. 

If you look online, you'll find a bazillion recipes that are all a variation on this theme, and they mostly call for temperatures between 250 and 300 degrees. They also call for baking times of 20 minutes. I back the nuts for about an hour and a half because I like them lightly burned. 


About every 20 minutes, I pull the pan from the oven and stir the nuts. I also add more salt. You have to remember that pecans burn quickly. I have to remember that I like them slightly burned, and that's why I bake them for 90 minutes. 


Keep baking. Keep stirring. Keep salting. At some point, the level of burn is about right.


Set out the pan to let the nuts cool. Stir a little more. At some point, put the nuts into a couple of containers. Add the lids later as the temperature cools more. 

I eat the nuts about a cup at the time. In doing so, it's 1960 all over again. A little too cold outside. School's in session with farm work at bay. We're sitting by the table making pigs of ourselves on the pecans we shelled a day earlier. I can work with that now and again. Well, more now and more again lately.


1 comment:

The Crow said...

I remember shelling pecans for holiday fruit cakes. We never made salted pecans, but we did do peanuts. My Dad boiled then first in salted water, then roasted them in the oven at very low temp for about 4 hours. I guess that was to dry the shells more than anything else.

I like your skillet - looks like my cornbread skillet, a real treasure that my daughter will inherit.