Pan-Roasted Almonds with Thyme and Truffle Oil

by Jenn on December 20, 2010

in Dairy Free,Gluten Free,Snacks,Tastes,Vegetarian

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We celebrated Christmas a week early.  Now that we have gotten in the holiday spirit thanks to our fun trip strolling through the Marché de Noël, it seems my husband and I are all about Christmas this year.  I love the idea of embracing new traditions for ourselves, and so this weekend to accommodate our schedules a bit better, we had our full on Christmas feast. A veritable 3 course dinner just for the two of us – because what better Christmas present could I give my husband than a great meal made with love, and the two of us just enjoying each other’s company on these unseasonably cold and blustery Winter days?

Over this week of Christmas I thought I’d share with you, one course at a time, our Christmas dinner for each other.  First up is the snack/appetizer, or entrée as we call it here en Suisse en français.  Roasted pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc. are a regular feature of the Christmas markets here, and are a delicious candy often coated with caramel and sugar – however savory versions seem to be a bit tougher to find.  My first encounter with savory glazed almonds was actually in an airport this year while traveling for Thanksgiving (I know, random), when I had the opportunity to try the famed Marcona almonds.  Now I know what the hype is about.  Sweeter, softer, and more flavorful than your typical almonds, they give this “melt in the mouth” quality that makes them completely irresistible.  For me, they are compared to regular almonds as truffles are compared to mushrooms.

Ever since my airport acquaintance with these wondrous little pieces of heaven, I have been wanting to recreate that simple roasted snack.  I went to 7 stores looking for amandes de Marcona.  One store directed me to their butcher, who was Spanish.  Even he didn’t know where to find them en Suisse (note – looking for a hard to find ingredient in a foreign country is a great way to practice your language skills).  Eventually, I gave up on my search, and settled for regular old almonds from nowhere in particular.  While I think I’ll always be searching for the elusive Marcona almonds, it turns out the regular ones work just fine – especially when you pan-roast them and add truffle oil to them :)

I’ve never really roasted almonds in a pan before, so I kinda made this up as I went along (hence the somewhat vague ingredient amounts).  If there are more conventional methods of doing this type of thing, by all means I’m open to hearing about it.  I roasted them in a frying pan over some heat with a little olive oil and fresh thyme, stirring often.  Ok so technically it’s not roasting and is more of a light frying.  But they taste like they’ve been roasted, so that’s what I’m calling it :) As they browned, I sprinkled in a little salt and sugar which caramelized into the most gorgeous aromas wafting through our home – I love the smell of sugar cooking, but when combined with the almonds and thyme? An unlikely mixture of flavors, but the combination is a lovely blend.  The sugar added a hint of sweetness, but not overly so, allowing the herbs and truffle flavor to really shine.  Once cooled, a little drizzle of white truffle oil and I had in my kitchen one of the most addictingly awesome versions of roasted almonds I’d ever tasted.  I bet they’d be even better with Marcona almonds.

I have to hide them from my husband or there won’t be any left for Christmas.

I have to hide them from me or there won’t be any left for Christmas!

Also submitted to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Gluten Free Wednesdays

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa December 20, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Those must be addictive! I love the addition of truffle oil.

Cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn December 21, 2010 at 12:09 am

Thanks Rosa! They definitely are.

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InTolerantChef December 21, 2010 at 12:28 am

I’m glad you got into the spirit of things. These look delicious.

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Jenn December 21, 2010 at 7:17 am

Thanks! Me too :)

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Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris December 21, 2010 at 7:49 am

I have never eaten almonds like these, but I WILL try !!! They are so easy to make and must be delicious!!

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Jenn December 21, 2010 at 8:54 am

Thanks Cristina! I’ll definitely be snacking on some today :)

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Cherine December 21, 2010 at 8:59 am

Those almonds must be really good!!

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Jenn December 21, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Thanks Cherine!

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Chris @ The Peche December 21, 2010 at 11:13 pm

I love this! I’m making them tomorrow to take to the in-laws for the holidays.

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Jenn December 21, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Thanks! I hope everyone enjoys them!

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Terry December 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm

These really look good. I think I could do them with Xylitol..

I think before I check out any more blogs with great looking food… I need to go eat my breakfast so I don’t drool all over my key board.

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Jenn December 22, 2010 at 11:53 pm

I haven’t tried any cooking with xylitol before, I’ll be curious how they turn out!

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Sonia December 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Really Nice, I like snacking on almonds
These really go well with Cilantro/Mint Chutney..

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Jenn December 23, 2010 at 12:08 am

hmm I would not have pictured the thyme and truffle oil seasonings on these almonds pairing with cilantro and mint chutney, maybe this is a combination I will have to try…

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TiffKey December 22, 2010 at 4:13 pm

I love amandes de Marcona! I first tried them when a friend gave them to me as a gift from her trip to Spain. I love what you have done with them! In the past, I’ve stuffed olives with them … YUM! Merry Christmas!

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Jenn December 23, 2010 at 12:09 am

Thanks! Now if only I could make this recipe again with actual amandes de Marcona… it was too bad I couldn’t find them in any stores yet!

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Valérie December 22, 2010 at 7:54 pm

This must be delicious! I adore flavoured nuts, but I rarely make my own. Truffle-flavoured almonds sound divine!

I’m looking forward to discovering your Christmas feast!

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Jenn December 23, 2010 at 12:09 am

Thanks Valérie!

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Linda December 22, 2010 at 10:02 pm

I’ve only made a sweet version of roasted almonds, but these look delicious too.

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Jenn December 23, 2010 at 12:09 am

Thanks Linda – There’s a little sweet in these, just not too much :)

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Ariane December 24, 2010 at 6:10 am

Oh man, I will have to try these! I did truffeled kale chips and I frequently carmelize pecans with some smoked chipotle and salt, but had been stuck on what to do with almonds. You think it would be ok to not peel them? Mine come with the skins and I typically dont have the patience to take them off!

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Jenn December 24, 2010 at 11:29 am

I think it would be ok, it would just taste different…

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Linda - Lost in Switzerland December 29, 2010 at 10:16 am

Hi Jenn!! These almonds look amazingly delish! Will just have to try them…
I really LOVE your food photos! They are fantastic! May I ask which camera/lens you are using?
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
x
Linda

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Jenn December 29, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Thanks Linda!
You can see my camera/lens equipment on my photography page – hope that helps! Hope you had a wonderful holiday :)

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sleepinghorse July 24, 2011 at 11:08 am

Hi Jenn,
I made these in the weekend and they were delicious. I have posted about making them and have linked to your post so that people can find your recipe. Thanks for the great recipe.

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Jenn July 24, 2011 at 11:39 am

Oh thanks!! So glad you enjoyed it :)

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