Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
These Five-Spice Fried Pecans are the ideal party appetizer for grazing guests. The warm spices over these pecans have an autumn edge to them, and one test kitchen professional said these nuts have “just the right amount of spice to be addicting and not overpowering” and another said they’re “more deeply flavored and crisp than any toasted nut.” These delicious fried pecans will be gone before you blink, so you might want to double the recipe. A tip from the test kitchen: Cooling the nuts after frying is very important because the nuts will taste chewy when they are still warm. Our test kitchen also recommended that the nuts be slightly wet when tossed with the powdered sugar, so don't let them dry too long. You can store these Five-Spice Fried Pecans in an airtight container in a cool place for up to five days, so they’re a great make-ahead treat the week of a party.
2 cups pecan halves
10 cups water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Canola oil, for frying
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon orange zest
3/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
How to Make It
Bring 10 cups water and 2 Tbsp. kosher salt to a boil in a large pot over high. Add 2 cups nuts, and cook until slightly softened, 30 to 45 seconds. Drain nuts, and spread on paper towels; cool 2 minutes.
Combine 2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. orange zest, and 3/4 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder for spice mixture.
Meanwhile, pour canola oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches into a Dutch oven. Heat over medium-high to 325°F. Toss together nuts and 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a bowl; stir until nuts are evenly coated with sugar and almost all excess sugar is melted. Carefully add coated nuts to hot oil; fry until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Using a spider skimmer or large slotted spoon, remove nuts to paper towels; drain briefly, about 10 seconds.
Transfer hot nuts to a medium bowl, and toss with spice mixture. Cool 30 minutes.