Recipe

Gramercy Tavern Bar Nuts

Adapted from Mix Shake Stir, by Danny Meyer

This recipe uses two different kinds of salt. I don’t know why, although I’m guessing that the different salts coat the nuts differently? In any case, my kosher salt is Diamond Crystal brand, and that’s important to note, because it’s significantly less salty than Morton brand kosher salt. If you have Morton (or another brand), you’ll want to use much less than the 1 tablespoon this recipe calls for. I’d suggest about 1 ½ teaspoons.

Also, to make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, stir until the sugar dissolves, and then take it off the heat and allow it to cool.  (To be honest, though, I didn’t allow mine to cool; I made it just before using and only cooled it for a few minutes.)

Last, the original version of this recipe uses volume measurements, and I forgot to convert them to weight measurements when I made it.  I know, I know; I usually give you both types of measurements, and I, myself, prefer weight. I am sad. Apologies.

1 cup raw almonds
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
2 ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups pecan halves
1 ¼ cup cashews
¼ cup (2 fluid ounces) simple syrup (see headnote)
1 ½ teaspoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, or another oil with a similarly high smoke point

Preheat the oven to 300˚F.

Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Immediately transfer to a plate, and set aside to cool.

While the almonds toast, make the spice mix. Combine the sugar, salts, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, ginger, black pepper, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Stir to mix.

Reduce the oven temperature to 275˚F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the almonds, pecans, and cashews. Toss to mix. Add the simple syrup, corn syrup, and grapeseed oil, and stir to coat the nuts. Add the spice mix, and toss gently until the nuts are evenly coated.  Spread on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake until the spice mixture is caramelized and the nuts are toasted, about 25-40 minutes. To check for doneness, take a few nuts out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes; if done, they should be dry to the touch.

Cool completely; then store in an airtight container. (The original recipe says that the nuts should keep at room temperature for a week, but I’d guess that they’ll keep longer than that.  Two weeks, easy.)

Yield: about 4 cups

Recipe

Rice and Smothered Cabbage Soup

Adapted slightly from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

This soup is very thick, but not quite as thick as risotto.  You could, in theory, eat it with a fork, but you’ll want to use a spoon.

I should also add that I didn’t make my broth from scratch.  I used Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base, my store-bought standby.

1 batch Smothered Cabbage (see below)
2 cups (475 ml) chicken or beef broth
1 cup (235 ml) water, and maybe more
2/3 cup (about 135 grams) Arborio rice
2 Tbsp. (28 grams) unsalted butter
About 1/3 cup (roughly 1 heaping handful) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a good-size pot (about 4 quarts), combine the cabbage, the broth, and 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice, and then lower the heat so that the soup bubbles at a slow but steady simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender but firm to the bite, about 20 minutes. If you find that the soup is becoming too thick, add a little water. The soup should be pretty dense, but there should still be some liquid.

When the rice is done, turn off the heat, and stir in the butter and the grated Parmesan. Taste, and correct for salt. Serve with black pepper and more Parmesan.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings - and try to save some for later, because these leftovers make a lunch worth looking forward to