For the love of almonds

Rosemary-Toasted Almonds

Rosemary-Infused Almonds with Homemade Almond Oil

While preparing a cooking demonstration for the Google staff in San Francisco, the chef presented me with the most delicious homemade pistachio oil. He said he couldn’t readily find what I had requested, so prepared a batch himself! That put me in a creative mood, and now when the proper nut oil is not readily at hand, I make my own. Here’s a version I created using top-quality almonds. I use the oil to embellish all manner of foods, from braised asparagus to these toasted, herb-infused almonds.

Equipment: A small, nonstick skillet;  an electric spice mill; a baking sheet.

2 1/2 cups whole almonds, divided

1/3 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as grapeseed, peanut, or safflower

4 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus more for garnisH

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

  1. Center a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. . Prepare the almond oil:  In the skillet, toast 1/2 cup of the almonds over moderate heat until toasty and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Toss from time to time to toast them evenly. Remove to a plate to cool. Once cooled, transfer the nuts to the spice mill and grind coarsely, to about the size of a small grain of rice.
  3. In a small saucepan, warm the oil. Off the heat, add the ground almonds and stir to blend. Set aside for at least 1 hour to infuse the oil. Transfer the oil and nuts to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups of almonds, 1 tablespoons almond oil (with the ground nuts), 1 tablespoon minced rosemary, the lemon zest and the salt. Toss to coat the nuts. Transfer to the baking sheet. Scatter with the whole sprigs of rosemary.
  5. Place the baking sheet in the oven and toast until fragrant and golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Once cooled, remove and discard the rosemary sprigs. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.) At serving time, garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs.

2 cups