Posts Tagged ‘walnut recipes’


When I was growing up, Christmas time meant a big bowl of mixed nuts in their shells.  Why only during this festive season I don’t know – perhaps they were a luxury to be enjoyed when expansiveness at the table was the rule, even for those of us who didn’t have much money.  So, this year I went off to the produce market and brought home a couple of pounds of these old favorites, except what I got was mainly walnuts.  A good amount of almonds joined them along with a few hazelnuts, a few Brazil nuts, and even fewer pecans.  When I read in the NY Times that pecan thieves were running amok in Georgia and that pecan prices were at an all time high, it didn’t take much for me to figure out how 2 pounds of mixed nuts contained about 10 pecans.  A long story to get to the point of walnuts and what to do with them.

One of the easiest and best things to do is to roast them.  You place as many walnuts as you like in a single layer on a baking sheet with sides.  Place them in a 350ºF oven for exactly 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven, cool, and store just as you would any nut in its shell.  Roasted walnuts exude a particularly slightly sweet toasty taste when still warm, however.

And here is a fancier recipe in which roasted walnuts add a nice touch:


Seared Duck Breast with Roasted Walnuts and Green Olive Tapenade

Serves 6

8 ounces pitted green olives

⅓ cup capers, well-drained

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon walnut oil

1 teaspoon fresh orange juice

Approximately ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

6 duck skin-on breast halves, neatly trimmed

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 cup roasted walnut pieces, warmed


Combine the olives, capers, garlic, and thyme in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Process, using quick on and off turns, to just combine.  Add the walnut oil and orange juice and process to incorporate.  With the motor running, add just enough olive oil to make a well-textured mix – do not purée or allow to become pasty.  Scrape from the processor bowl into a clean container and set aside.  (The tapenade can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored, covered and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before using.)

Using a sharp chef’s knife, score the skin side of the duck breasts into a diamond pattern.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place a large heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat.  When very hot, add the duck breasts, skin side down.  Sear for about 6 minutes or until the fat has rendered out and the skin is nicely browned and crisp.  Turn and sear the remaining side for about 4 minutes or until the outside is nicely browned, but the interior remains rare.  Remove from the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Using a sharp knife, cut each breast on the bias, keeping the slices together to form a whole breast.

Place a breast, slightly fanned out, on each of 6 plates, with a large, neatly formed tablespoon of tapenade on the side and the roasted walnuts sprinkled over the top.  (Any leftover tapenade can be used as a garnish on almost any type of meat, as a salad seasoning, or on sandwiches).


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