The first time I was introduced to Marcona almonds was in the middle of a typical crazy busy shift at work. My co-worker had a bag of them from Trader Joe’s, and they were ‘roasted with rosemary.’ The taste blew me away, but more than that… was the texture. These almonds are SO different from the ‘usual’ almonds you and I are used to. They are smaller, more rounded, and more crunchy. Way more crunchy! As in, Macadamia nut crunchy. Marcona almonds come to us from Spain, and are said to be the best almonds ever by all who have tried them. You can get them pretty easily at your local Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, as well as specialty stores I’m sure. I’ve read about them being roasted or toasted with Thyme, or simply toasted and sprinkled with sea salt… but I could not get over the perfection of the Rosemary roasted ones I tried at work. I bought myself a container of almonds, had Hubby bring me home some fresh Rosemary from work, and got busy. The first thing you do is preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Second, line a heavy duty baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil (mostly for easy clean up). Spread your marconas out over the sheet as evenly as possible.
Next take a generous handful of fresh rosemary and roughly chop it with a sharp knife. Sprinkle it over the almonds, and then drizzle with some olive oil. Lightly toss to coat. sprinkle with salt, and pepper if desired. Place in 350 degree oven, and set timer for 5 minutes. stir/ flip around with a spatula – and continue to roast, checking five minutes later. Stir and flip around once again. Watch them carefully at this point, as they burn easily. I would maybe go another minute, and then remove them to the stovetop. Pour them into a big bowl to cool completely. If you taste them now, while they’re warm, they will feel a bit chewy… this is why you have to let them cool, so they can regain their crunch. continue to toss here and there in the bowl to help cool evenly. Once cooled, serve to guests, hide them in your pantry in an airtight container, eat them all up while you watch ‘Orange is the New Black’… anyway you slice it, they are amazingly addicting. enjoy!!