One week ago today, the food blog community learned that a dear friend named Sherry had passed suddenly from a heart attack. Sherry was well-known for her writing at What did you eat?. Although I did not know Sherry personally, I am saddened by her passing and wish to dedicate this post to her memory. As many bloggers are doing today, I have selected a recipe from her site to share with you.
I visited Sherry’s site and by reading her posts quickly learned she was witty and kind. She experimented with ingredients and recipes similar to myself and I was instantly drawn to a particular recipe she wrote, Edamame with Mint, Almonds and Scallions.
Like Sherry, I also love edamame and always order it when dining out. Just recently, I purchased a bag of frozen shelled edamame and have been experimenting with it in soups and stir-fry. Sherry’s salad utilizes Asian flavors which I love, like sesame oil and chili so I knew it would be perfect for me.
Although I’d planned all week to make this salad (and just returned from grocery shopping), I was shocked to discover the sliced almonds I thought I had were nowhere to be found in the pantry. Typical me. I didn’t want to substitute but in Sherry’s recipe she did suggest possible nut substitutions.
Edamame with Mint, Pecans, and Scallions
1 lb. shelled edamame
2 Tablespoons sesame seed oil
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili sauce
1/4 cup candied pecans (recipe follows)
2 scallions sliced thin
1/4 cup chopped mint or cilantro
Bring a pan of water to a boil and add edamame. Cook for 3 minutes, then drain and allow to cool.
Combine sesame seed oil, soy sauce, chili sauce, and vinegar. Mix the edamame and the dressing together in a large bowl, then add the mint and scallions, and toss again. Top the salad with candied pecans and serve at room temperature. I hollowed out half of a pear to use as a bowl for the salad. The salad is just as good as I’d hoped it would be, perfect for a hot summer night.
As I mentioned, I didn’t have any other nuts on hand so I decided to use pecans. Plain pecans didn’t seem to match the Asian flavors that were in the salad so I decided to candy them and toss with toasted sesame seeds. I jumped onto the web to track down a candied nut recipe and found a candied peanuts recipe by David Lebovitz. It seemed like fate since David was listed on Sherry’s site as one of her favorite blogs.
adapted from David Lebovitz’s Candied Peanuts
2 cups raw pecan pieces
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
Mix the sugar, water and nuts in a pan over medium heat. The mixture will begin to boil, stir the nuts so that the mixture does not burn. As the moisture evaporates, the mix will suddenly seize up and crystallize. It will look as though you’ve seriously screwed it up, but don’t worry.
Continue to keep the nuts moving in the pan at this point. As the sugar heats, it will melt and caramelize on the nuts. It’s important to keep stirring continuously at this point. Stir until all of the sugar has melted and the nuts are a rich brown color. Immediately remove from heat and add the toasted sesame seeds. Stir to combine the seeds and pour onto parchment paper to cool. Spread nuts in a single layer.
The nuts are wonderfully good – I suggest making a big batch, it’s hard not to snack on them. Although David suggests adding spices such as cinnamon, I opted to keep them simple. The toasted sesame adds a nice punch of nutty flavor.