Marcona Almonds

It’s that time of year, when I get excited to come up with numerous appetizers to lay out for guests during the holiday season. Recently my family was invited over to a friend’s house, where we were served some toasted rosemary Marcona almonds in garlic oil. They were absolutely delicious! I somehow situated myself on the corner of the table where those lovely, round delights lay, popping one after another. I didn’t eat the entire plate, but without some personal restraint, I most likely would have.

Originating from Spain, Marcona almonds are shorter, rounder, and sweeter than the almond variety you most likely are familiar with. It is possible to purchase raw Marcona almonds, with the shell removed, but the seedcoat still attached. However, it is more likely that you will find at your local grocer Marcona almonds that have been blanched, which is the process of soaking the nut in hot water to soften the dark seedcoat to facilitate its removal,  exposing the white embryo.

This dish is perfect for a cocktail party, or in a medley of appetizers, much like mezze, prior to a dinner party. I like the addition of rosemary and garlic oil, however, you could simply sauté the almonds lightly in plain olive oil with equally delicious results.

6-8 oz. Marcona almonds, blanched
1/4 c. garlic oil
1  sprig rosemary (about 4″ in length)
salt to taste

In a small sauté pan, on low heat, add the oil and rosemary sprig. Allow the rosemary to infuse into the oil for about 4-5 minutes. Remove the rosemary; set aside. Add the almonds and allow them to toast until they have a nice golden color. Remove the almonds and place them on a piece of paper towel to soak up any extra oil. Sprinkle a small amount of salt over the almonds and arrange on a plate with the rosemary sprig as a garnish.

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