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Video: Mark Bittman shares pecan recipes

updated 11/21/2006 5:19:55 PM ET 2006-11-21T22:19:55

Recipe: Spicy Fried Nuts

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as needed
  • 2 cups whole pecans, walnuts, or almonds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste, optional
  • Coarse salt

Coat the bottom of a wide saucepan with oil, and turn the heat to medium high. When it is hot, but not smoking, add the almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, for just a few minutes, until they are toasted and lightly browned.

Remove the almonds with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and sprinkle with cumin, cayenne, and salt to taste. Serve at room temperature, within a few hours.

Serving Size

Makes 2 cups, enough for 8 people as a snack

Recipe: Nutty Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, or walnuts
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup sherry, balsamic, or good red wine vinegar, plus more if you like
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Toast the nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking almost constantly, until fragrant. Place them in the container of a blender or small food processor along with the garlic and pulverize.

Put the ground nuts and garlic in a bowl and add the vinegar, salt, and pepper; stir. Add the oil a bit at a time. The mixture will become creamy and quite thick. Taste to make sure the acid balance pleases you and add more vinegar if you like; if the taste is good but the mixture is too thick, add warm water, a teaspoon at a time. This is best made fresh but will keep, refrigerated, for a day or so; bring back to room temperature before using.

Serving Size

Makes about 1 cup

Recipe: Rice-and-Nut Stuffing

  • 2 cups long-grain brown rice, like basmati
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or butter, plus more as needed
  • 3/4 cup pecans, pine nuts, or shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup raisins or currants, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram or oregano leaves or 2 teaspoons dried

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. If baking the stuffing outside of the bird, grease a 2-quart casserole, large gratin dish, or 9- by 13-inch baking dish with olive oil.

Bring a large pot of water to boil; salt it. Add the rice and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it begins to get tender but not at all mushy, to 15 to 20 minutes. Drain it, rinse it, and drain it again.

Heat 1/4 cup of the oil or butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Toss in the nuts and the raisins or currants, if you are using them, and stir for a minute or

Add the rice and stir, sprinkling with salt and pepper, while cooking for another minute; the rice need not get hot. Add more oil or butter as needed to moisten the mixture thoroughly. Add the lemon juice and half the herb. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

(You may prepare the recipe in advance up to this point; refrigerate, well wrapped or in a covered container, for up to 2 days before proceeding.)

Use the stuffing to fill both cavities of the bird. Or put the stuffing in the prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake until the rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the mixture top is nicely browned, another 10 to 15 minutes or so.

Serving Size

Makes about 6 cups, enough for a 12-pound bird

Recipe: Pansotti (Pasta with Walnuts or Pecans)

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 thick slice Italian bread
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup walnut or pecan halves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 2 teaspoons fresh marjoram leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound linguine, spaghetti, or other long pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Soak the bread in the milk. Combine the nuts, garlic, cheese, and marjoram in a food processor and turn the machine on. With the machine running, add the oil gradually, using just enough so that the mixture forms a very thick paste. Squeeze out the bread and add it to the mix, which will be very thick. Now add the milk the bread soaked in, and enough water to make a saucy mixture.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until it is tender but not mushy. When it is ready, drain it — reserve some of the cooking water — and toss with the sauce; if the mixture appears too thick, thin with a little of the pasta cooking water (or more olive oil). Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve, with more Parmesan.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

Recipe: Pecan Pie

  • 1 pie crust
  • 2 cups shelled pecans
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Pre-bake the crust until it's golden brown; put the pecans on a baking sheet and bake (you can do this before, during, or after baking the crust), shaking and stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until the pecans are hot. Cool the pecans; coarsely chop half of them and leave the other half intact.

Start the filling while the crust is in the oven. When the crust is done, turn the oven to 375°F.

Beat the eggs well, until they are foamy. Beat in the sugars, salt, and butter. While the crust is baking, warm this mixture in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is hot to the touch; do not boil. Stir in the vanilla extract and the pecans.

Put the pie plate on a baking sheet. Pour this mixture into the still-hot crust and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the mixture shakes like Jell-O but is still quite moist. Cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serving Size

Makes about 8 servings


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