Tasty, crunchy toasted pecans are one of our favorite snacks, but our old recipe used a lot of oil – something we were trying to reduce. So how to get the salt or spices to stick? I tried reducing the oil way down, but the dry nuts soaked it up so quickly, that I couldn’t get an even coating. Then I remembered that over 30 years ago, a friend told me that she always soaked her pecans in warm water – I think she said it was for the taste, to get the “bitterness” out but when I made an online search for “soaking nuts” it looks like a lot of people advocate this for nutritional reasons – and it made me think: the soaked nuts wouldn’t be able to absorb so much oil, right?
We soaked a pound of fresh, shelled pecans in very warm water, for 20 minutes, patted them dry with a towel and put them back into a bowl with a fitted lid. Then added just one teaspoon of olive oil, covered the bowl with the lid and gave them a good shake. Every single nut was beautifully coated, enabling a light dusting of sea salt to stick. Baked at 250 (in a convection oven) for about 40 minutes, they were perfect. We tried soaking then applying salt to the damp nuts without using oil, but the taste testers here insist the tiny bit of added oil was better. Lightly salted and sometimes with a little garlic and cumin this is the only way we make our toasted pecans now.
- One pound shelled pecan halves
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- sea salt to taste
- Preheat convection oven to 250 degrees. In conventional oven heat to 275.
- Soak the shelled pecans in very warm water for 20 minutes.
- Drain and pat dry with towel
- Place in a bowl with fitted lid and add 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Cover with lid and shake for about 20 seconds until all nuts are coated with the oil
- Spread onto sheet pan and sprinkle a little sea salt to taste.
- Bake 30 to 40 minutes. Note oven temperatures can vary lot. The key to the lightness and crunch is baking the nuts low and slow.