Cooking with nuts

Oct 20, 2009 at 4:39 p.m. ET

Traditionally an autumn snack, nuts can add a crunchy bite to any cold weather meal. From walnuts to almonds to Brazil nuts, any one of the many varieties of nuts can be used in any type of dish from appetizers to desserts. Now is the best time to find fresh unshelled mixed nuts. Pull out that nut cracker and get crackin'!

Assortment of Nuts

Nuts Recipes

Pecan and Arugula Pasta Salad

Makes 4 servings

8 ounces rotini pasta
1/4 cup Caesar dressing (not creamy)
1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
5 ounces arugula
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with dressing.

2. Saute onions in oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until just golden.

3. Stir in arugula and pecans and cook until pecans are just toasted.

4. Pour arugula mixture over pasta then add ricotta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Cauliflower and Brazil Nut Pesto

Makes 6 servings

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2-1/2 pounds cauliflower, cut into 4-inch-long florets

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

2. To make pesto, combine basil, Brazil nuts, water, rosemary, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until mixture is well chopped.

3. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons of olive oil while processor is running. Add Parmesan, salt and pepper and process until a paste forms.

4. To prepare cauliflower, toss cauliflower with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread florets on a baking sheet and roast until tender and slightly golden, about 10 minutes.

5. Transfer cauliflower to a bowl and toss with pesto. Serve immediately.

Almond Crusted Catfish

Makes 4 servings

1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg
4 tablespoons milk
4 fillets catfish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Combine almonds with breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Combine flour with pepper and salt in a second shallow bowl. Whisk egg with milk in a third shallow bowl.

3. Dip fish one at a time in flour mixture, then egg mixture, and finally the breadcrumb mixture.

4. Place fish on a baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Serve with tartar sauce.

More reasons and ways to eat nuts