Ask Casey: Spiced Nuts for a Cocktail Party

Casey Barber

by Casey Barber on May 12, 2010

Ask Casey: Cooking and Kitchen Questions Answered

I’m hosting a cocktail party and although it’s a potluck, I need to have a few things ready to go when I run in the door before my guests arrive. Do you have any suggestions for snacks I can make in advance—even a few nights before?

We all know I love to go retro around these parts, so may I recommend a nice bowl of nuts?

I don’t mean ripping open one of those vacuum-sealed Planters cans with the unwieldy Brazil nuts hanging out in them (wasn’t I just having a conversation about how much I hate the Brazil nut in the mix? It’s so large and galumphy, taking up all that space and being oily). I mean a custom mix, with bright flavors and unexpected spices that pair up beautifully with aperitifs.

Below are two of my party favorites for spicy Thai cashews and smoky-sweet almonds, both of which can be made in 15 minutes and saved in a Tupperware for at least a week (if you can hold off on eating them that long). I love the contrast of the cashew’s creamy texture with the tangy Thai seasonings, and the deeper crispiness of the almond with its smoky, warm salt and pepper components. These would just hit it out of the park with a sparkling white wine; try something unexpected and refreshing like a Vinho Verde or Txakoli for your pre-dinner cocktails.

spiced nut recipes, thai cashews, smoky sweet almonds
Need more nut recipes? Lisa at Dinner Party is typically well-stocked with gorgeous hostess ideas, like chile-lime peanuts (her idea of sprinkling the roasted nuts with lime zest would work equally well on the Thai cashews). And Tim at Lottie + Doof offers up some rosemary-tinged spiced pecans.


Don’t forget, I’m in the kitchen every day, testing recipes and equipment to better answer your pressing questions. Email me—nothing is too weird for Ask Casey.

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