Garlicky Habanero Macadamia Nuts
Macadamias al Chile Habanero y Ajo
Makes about 3 cups, enough for 9 to 12 as a nibble
Most North Americans think habanero equals fire. I think habanero = aroma of tropical fruit and flowers … plus some pretty searing heat. By roasting habaneros (along with garlic) and blending them into 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.
Working Ahead: The nuts can be made a week or more ahead. Store in an air-tight container.
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 to 2 fresh habanero chiles, stemmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups (about 1 pound) roasted macadamia nuts
1. Make the flavoring. 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.
2. Mix and bake. 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.