Candied Spicy Walnuts
These walnuts add an unusual element to the Gorgonzola and Radicchio sandwich served at Campanile restaurant in Los Angeles.
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 8 ounces walnut halves (2 cups)
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
In a large saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, wash down the sides of the pan to remove any undissolved sugar granules.
Add walnuts, and reduce the heat to medium-high. Simmer until the syrup is reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. The nuts will be very sticky. Use a slotted spoon to remove half of the nuts to a colander to drain, leaving the other half in the syrup. Reduce the heat to low.
Meanwhile, fill a medium stockpot with 2 inches of oil. Heat oil to 350 degrees over medium heat. Carefully add the drained nuts, and fry, stirring constantly, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer nuts to a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, and let stand until cool. Repeat with remaining nuts. Will keep, stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about 2 days.