The apéritif hour: Roast almonds with paprika
No worries. In the time it takes to chill down a bottle of fino or manzanilla sherry, you can make these roast almonds with paprika from Sam and Sam Clark, the genies behind the restaurant Moro in London (and co-authors of the wonderful “Moro the Cookbook”). The two chefs, who are married, have a great affection for Spain and north Africa. And these almonds dosed with smoked paprika are a delicious twist on the ubiquitous roast almonds in olive oil.
They write, “the word for almond — ‘almendra’ — has roots in the Moorish past, for the Arabs were very partial to them and planted trees all along the Mediterranean coast from Tarragona to Malaga.”
Note: To blanch almonds: bring a pot of water to the boil. Remove from heat, dump in the almonds for about a minute. Drain and cool under running water. Slip the skins off by gently holding between the thumb and forefinger and squeezing.
Serve with a fino or manzanilla sherry, well-chilled.
Almendras con pimentón
Almonds with paprika (adapted from “Moro the Cookbook” by Sam and Sam Clark, Ebury Press, London, 2001, $27.50 paperback)
About 1/2 pound whole blanched almonds
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked sweet Spanish paprika*
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (preferably Maldon), ground to a fine powder
Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the almonds on a baking tray and dry-roast in the top of the oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and stir in the olive oil, paprika and salt. Return to the oven for a couple more minutes. Remove and cool before eating.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Photos: Roast almonds with smoked paprika. Credit: S. Irene Virbila/Los Angeles Times.