Walnuts Roasted with Rosemary
By Ann M. Evans
Fall brings the fresh harvest of walnuts here in Northern California, and my home county, Yolo County, has acres and acres of walnut trees. I love to serve this recipe for a winter holiday party using our fresh crop walnuts, which I harvest from a friends orchard or buy at the Davis Farmers Market already shelled. Start this recipe two nights before you want to serve it as a long soak in water and a long bake in the oven makes the walnuts extra plump and crunchy. Sally Fallon, in her book, Nourishing Traditions, inspired me to soak the walnuts overnight and slow bake.
4 cups walnut halves, preferably fresh shelled
2 teaspoons sea salt
2-3 tablespoons Walnut Oil or California Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-inch spring of fresh rosemary, stem removed and leaves minced (don’t use dried)
½ to 1-teaspoon sea salt, to taste
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Place walnuts in a bowl and cover with water. Add 2 teaspoons sea salt and mix. Let sit as long as possible, preferably 7 hours or overnight. (In a hurry? Soak for as long as you can, even 1 hour.)
Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Drain soaked walnuts in a colander. Spread walnuts on a stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven, 150 degrees, for 12 – 24 hours, (I bake them overnight) turning occasionally, until completely dry and crispy.
To spice them, toss the warm walnuts with the oil. Add rosemary, salt and pepper (if using). Toss. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if not using immediately. Serve at room temperature.