Spicy Candied Pecans Recipe
We’ve had such an interesting spring here in New Orleans. It has stayed cooler much longer than normal. I’m not really sure why that is, but I have been enjoying every minute of it. I’m currently writing this while sitting with my kitchen window open, breeze blowing in with some gentle sunlight accompanying it. Pure bliss, truly. Great weather for the start of another great week.
Yesterday was our last sweet strawberry recipe for now – the strawberry frozen yogurt recipe. Now I have three savory recipes for you. The first will come tomorrow, and it’s going to be a lovely spinach salad featuring strawberries and some other ingredients I’ll save as a surprise. BUT one of those ingredients I must tell you about today. This spicy candy pecans recipe will feature prominently in tomorrow’s salad. Oh yeah!
I’ve been making my own spicy candied pecans for years. Back in the day (think late 1990′s), I was a lowly grade manger salad station worker at a fancy restaurant. Candied pecans were all the rage, and we had them on one of our signature salads. So basically as long as I’ve been cooking, I’ve been making candied pecans. We go way back. And I love, love, love them.
Let’s chat a little about which ingredients make a good spicy pecan. Personally I prefer a mix of sweet and spicy for my pecans. I like to use a little brown sugar and cayenne for that sweet/spicy contrast. I’ve taken to using balsamic vinegar for a tangy edge. Thyme leaves round out the flavor profile with a bit of umami. It lends just a bit of subtle, savory flavor to the dish.
I’m going to back up for a second and celebrate my love for pecans. Truly, pecans are a delicacy. One of my favorite nuts for sure! We are so fortunate here in Louisiana that they’re one of the nuts we have in abundance. Over the years though pecans have slowly been getting more expensive on a national level due to the drier weather in key states like Texas.
But even with our local pecans growing in Louisiana, where lack of rain is rarely an issue, we’ve been seeing prices climb. That’s more due to the rise in demand – worldwide. It seems pecans have become very popular in Asia, especially China. They’ve finally realized what we’ve known all the time – pecans are delicious!
As with most things, I prefer to buy my pecans locally. They tend to be a better price than something from Planters or Diamond, and they’re definitely fresher and better tasting. The pecans I used in this recipe came from the Hollygrove Farmer’s Market. Sadly, I don’t remember the farm name, but I do remember that they were from here in Louisiana. That’s what really matters!
I hope you enjoy this spicy pecan recipe. I’m pretty sure you will. When I made these for the salad, I had a hard time keeping myself from snacking on all of them. I had to literally put them away in a jar and hide them from myself so I’d have enough left for the salad photos. What can I say, I’m addicted to pecans. So. Good.
Spicy Candied Pecans Recipe
This candied pecans recipe is a little sweet, a little spicy and alot tasty! They're a great topping for salads but also a delicious snack on their own.
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1 teaspoon light olive oil
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 ºF.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
- Spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or a Silpat.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes then use.