I have a thing for nuts. In my opinion, there’s not a meal, snack, or occasion that does not benefit from some sort of nut accoutrement. I seem to be the only person in my family who believes in this theory but that doesn’t make me any less passionate about the subject.
Peanuts often get downplayed for more fancier pecans and cashews but I think they are worth celebrating. They are certainly friendlier on the wallet than some of their pricier nut friends and even more so if you buy them raw at the Asian market in big 2-pound bags for $3.00 like I do.
Peanuts play a prominent role in Mexican cooking and have hands down the best name in Spanish; cacahuates. They are featured in moles, chicken dishes, and stews but quite possibly the most popular way to eat them is roasted with small, dried chiles and lime.
Look for raw peanuts with the papery, reddish skin still attached. They are sometimes sold as Spanish peanuts. The skins help the seasoning adhere better and turn a gorgeous dark golden-red when roasted.
This bar snack is at it’s peak served slightly warm with an ice cold beer but will keep in an airtight container for about a week. Add a few cloves of unpeeled garlic for another variation.
Handful-friendly peanuts tossed in an addictive mixture of chili, fresh lime zest, turbinado sugar, and salt then roasted to a deep golden brown. Dairy and gluten free!
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 2 cups raw peanuts (about 12 ounces)
- 6 arbol chiles (optional)
- Heat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with a Silpat silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Whisk together sugar, salt, oil, lime juice, lime zest, and cayenne powder in a medium bowl. Add peanuts and chiles, if using, and toss to coat.
- Spread into an even layer on prepared baking sheet and roast 15-20 minutes until deep golden brown and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
- Let cool then break apart any clumps and serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.