Friday, January 13, 2012

Roasted Rosemary Marcona Almonds

I remember the first time I had marcona almonds.  I was 16 years old, in Venice with my father, sipping on a bellini and watching the sun set on the Grand Canal at Hotel Monaco.  When my husband and I returned for our honeymoon, I dragged him right back in search for these nuts (and the bellini of course).  I navigated the narrow streets of Venice like a thief in the night, which is amazing to anyone who really knows me.  I have to ask for directions when I'm 4 blocks away from my condo in Chicago, but I can remember exactly where I ate delicious nuts over ten years ago. 

As soon as we sat down the waiter gave us olives.  Olives! Why are there olives?? WHERE ARE THE NUTS?!  I like to think I wasn't shrieking, but I know I was.  The waiter looked at me like he unfortunately knew what I was talking about and swiftly returned with THE nuts.  I ordered my $20 bellini and was officially in heaven and avoided by all waitstaff for the remainder of our visit.

I finally asked the waiter what kind of nuts they were and he just said, "almonds" like I was the dumbest tourist he ever had the displeasure of running into.  Meanwhile, Charlie was looking around for the closest escape route.  In an effort to save face said, of course these are almonds Jaisa.  Duh.  Poor Charlie.  I have no idea why he married me.  Oh yeah, I remember.

It wasn't until I was at a restaurant in Chicago a few weeks ago where they had these special magical nuts and the waitress finally unveiled the mystery:  the special nuts I have been longing for are MARCONA almonds.  See?  I'm not crazy.  Ok.  I am.  But not entirely.  

If you haven't tried marcona almonds, let me just change your life.  They are like an almond mixed with a pine nut, crunchy and buttery and amazing.  I went on an adventure to Whole Foods and they were hiding on a little display by the Spanish wine section.  I decided to give them a little twist and added rosemary.

To make these, all you need are three (or four) ingredients depending on how your marcona almonds are packaged:

Marcona Almonds*
Dried Rosemary 
Sea Salt 

*My almonds were packed in oil, but if yours are dry, add 1 Tbs of Olive Oil

UM YES.  I licked every single one of these so I can't share.  Sorry.
I don't have dried rosemary on hand.  I usually use fresh.  I did, however, have a "bread dip" seasoning blend with dried garlic and rosemary.  This worked just fine.

Add the seasoning to the almonds.

And then your salt.

And give it a good stir.

Dump it all out onto a sheet pan.

And say goodbye for 20 minutes or so while they roast and toast in a 325 degree oven.

And then say hello.  How YOU dooooiiiiinnnnnnn.

Mmmmm a waterfall of marcona almonds in my face.

 Here is a pic of the actual nuts in Venice, because you know I take pics of everything I eat, right?

And here is the view from Hotel Monaco.  This view would make anything taste good, but I promise, these nuts are to die for.  Keep persistent and stay hungry!

Roasted Rosemary Marcona Almonds
2 Cups Marcona Almonds, with oil
2 Heavy Pinches of Sea Salt
3/4 Tbs of Dried Rosemary

If your almonds come dry, add 1 Tbs of olive oil.  Add salt and seasoning to almonds and stir.  Pour onto a sheet pan and cook for 20 minutes in a 325 degree oven or until they become fragrant.  Enjoy!


  1. ha! I remember the first time I went to Venice, we were at Harry's bar and saw our bill for two bellinis... 40 euro? YIKES!

    We then promptly moved locations.

    I buy rosemary marcona almonds from Trader Joes and they are really the BEST.


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