Appetizers & Snacks/

Garlicky Habanero Macadamia Nuts

Macadamias al Chile Habanero y Ajo
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Most North Americans think habanero equals fire.  I think habanero equals the aroma of tropical fruit and flowers—plus some pretty searing heat.  By roasting habaneros (along with garlic) and blending them into a seasoning, we’ve already mitigated their heat without doing too much damage to that beautifully aromatic flavor.  Adding a touch of honey soothes the heat to a very manageable glow. Still scared about using habaneros?  Try using 2 or 3 serrano (or 2 small jalapeño) chiles instead.  And if your macadamia nuts come salted, cut the salt in the seasoning by half.  (Note:  The nuts can be made a week or more ahead.  Store in an air-tight container.)
Servings: 3cups, enough for 9 to 12 as a nibble
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Ingredients

  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 to 2fresh habanero chiles, stemmed
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 1tablespoon honey
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 3cups (about 1 pound) roasted macadamia nuts

Instructions

Turn on the oven to 350 degrees. In a dry skillet, roast the unpeeled garlic and chiles over medium heat, turning them regularly until soft and blotchy-blackened in spots, about 10 minutes for the habanero, 10 to 15 minutes for the garlic. When the garlic is handleable, peel off the papery skin. In a mortar or small food processor, combine the garlic and habanero. Pound or process to as smooth a mixture as possible. Add the oil, honey and salt and pound or process to incorporate thoroughly.

In a large bowl, combine the macadamias and flavoring, stirring to thoroughly coat the nuts. Spread the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are toasty smelling and the flavorings have formed a shiny, dryish coating, about 20 minutes. Cool.

 

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