How to toast pine nuts

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Many recipes call for toasted pine nuts – the toasting process enhances their flavour. It’s simple to do, yet the technique is rarely explained anywhere – they burn easily so you need to watch them.

1. Take a dry non-stick pan or wok. Place the pine nuts in it (use no oil) and turn the heat to medium. Shake the pan every 30 seconds and toss the pine nuts. When they are lightly browned, turn the heat off and remove the pine nuts to a plate and leave them to cool. (If you leave them in the hot pan they will keep on cooking.) They take anything up to 5 minutes to toast depending on how hot the pan is. Some of the pine nuts will usually be darker than others, that’s normal. It is virtually impossible to get them all to toast perfectly.

Pine nuts ‘jump’ when they get hot so be careful!

What to do with toasted pinenuts

– Serve toasted pine nuts in pasta dishes to add texture, mix them with the filling for bruschetta or mash them with a little olive oil to make a paste to brush over cooked cod fillets before grilling them lightly until the pine nut mixture bubbles.

– Toasted pine nuts are excellent added to salads to give them crunch.

What are pine nuts?
– Pine nuts that come from the Mediterranean are called Pinus Pinea and are oval and long and thin. The pine nut that comes from the Far Eastern pine tree is rounder and shorter.

– In Italy, you can find pine cones lying on the ground and when they dry out, the pine nuts literally fall out of them.

– Pine nuts are also great for nibbling on the go for a healthy snack. Toast them and store them in a plastic container so you can take them with you to the office.

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Photography copyright foodpixies.com

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