A goat cheese crottin with toasted almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup (photo © Vermont Creamery).
 Toasted (a.k.a. roasted) pumpkin seeds. Here’s the recipe from Simply Recipes (photo © Elise Bauer | Simply Recipes).
 Snow peas with toasted sesame seeds. Here’s the recipe from Chef Curtis Stone. Note that toasted sesame seeds are tan in color, not to be confused with black sesame seeds (photo © Chef Curtis Stone).
More and more recipes are calling for nuts, seeds and spices to be toasted—even simple recipes like green salads, fruit salads and sides.
Add shredded coconut to the list.
You can add these toasted flavor-enhancers to pastas, rice, vegetable dishes, soups and as plate garnishes.
They’re a delicious addition to French toast, pancakes and waffles.
Toasting takes the bite out of walnuts, and adds mellow dimensions of flavor to all nuts. It’s the same with seeds and spices.
Toasting can also put some life back into nuts, seeds and spices that are old.
With nuts, toast whole nuts or halves first, then chop them into smaller pieces if desired.
It’s best to toast all three as close to serving as possible—fresh-toasted nuts, seeds and spices have a wonderful aroma.
Once toasted, they can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1 to 2 weeks, or frozen in an airtight freezer container for 1 to 3 months.
HOW TO TOAST NUTS, SEEDS & SPICES
It couldn’t be easier.
ON THE STOVETOP: Place the nuts/seeds/spices in a heavy, dry skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant and a shade or two darker, 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t crowd the nuts; use a larger skillet as needed, or toast in two batches.
IN THE OVEN: Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the nuts/seeds/spices in an ungreased shallow baking pan or a rimmed baking sheet, in a single layer. Roast until golden, 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice for even toasting.
IN THE MICROWAVE: For smaller amounts—tablespoon to a 1/2 cup, spread evenly in a single layer on a flat, microwave-safe dish. Add a small amount of softened butter or oil—1/2 teaspoon of fat per 1/2 cup of nuts/seeds/spices.
Stir to coat with the fat and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stirr and microwave for another minute. If not done to your satisfaction, continue to cook 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each addition of time.
As with the other methods, you are looking for the product to become lightly browned and fragrant.
For all methods, shake the pan during toasting to even the browning. When finished, remove from pan to cool.
Like all cooked foods, the nuts/seeds/spices will continue to cook when removed from the heat.
Don’t over-toast. Err on the side of under-toasting.
Stove-top toasting doesn’t toast as evenly as the oven method, because the heat isn’t as even. The surface touching the heat becomes darker in color. But, it fine for most purposes.
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