Nuts, like pecans, almonds, cashews and walnuts, are wonderful hidden treasures. They can be seasoned with any many spices and flavours. But, a great way to bring out the inner deliciousness of any nut is to roast or toast them.
The only question is, how do you roast or toast them?
There are two main ways:
- in a pan
- in an oven
The following video goes over both methods.
Pan roasting nuts is one of the fastest ways of roasting nuts, but does require a bit more attention and preparation. You see, just placing nuts in a pan and heating it will concentrate the heat to the contact points. This can cause uneven toasting and possibly some burnt spots.
In order to combat this, you coat the nuts in oil, which helps distribute the heat evenly. And, as nuts are not very porous, they do not absorb much of the oil. Excess oil can be drained off after toasting them.
Another way of heating the outside of the nuts evenly is, instead of heating up an object, heat up the air. That is how oven roasting works, instead of heating up the pan the nuts are directly touching, the oven will raise the temperature of the air. Thus, no oil is needed at all, but you do need to give the nuts a quick stir half way through, just to make sure the browning is even.
Using the oven is commonly referred to as “dry roasting” since no oil is used.
Also, the difference between toasting and roasting is just how much of the food item is cooked. When you toast something, like toast, you brown the outside, while leaving the inside relatively uncooked. Roasting, on the other hand, is when you cook the inside and outside of the food item.
When referring to these methods for nuts, both terms are usually used interchangeably.