Bacon of the Nut World: Applewood-Smoked Almonds

Among the plump cherries and chocolate-dipped apricots at the C.J. Olson fruit stand, I stumbled upon what may just be my new best friend this summer: applewood-smoked almonds. Have you ever had nuts like these?

These almonds are so smoky and aromatic that my nose spotted the sample jar long before I found the nuts themselves. The flavor is intense: slightly sweet and as smoky as a campfire. They are, dare I say, the bacon of the nut world.

My first thought was sprinkling a handful of these almonds over a summer salad of tossed greens. They'd also be fantastic roughly chopped and tossed into a simple pasta dish, like this Lemony Pesto Pasta. If you're a savory breakfast person, like me, you might even add these to a batch of granola. (Oh wow, could you imagine a batch of macarons made with smoked almonds?!)

Unfortunately, C.J. Olson isn't currently selling this particular product over their website. I've seen similar almonds being sold by other vendors at the farmers market and gourmet food stores, so check those places if you can't spring for the airfare to California.

C.J. Olson Cherries, 348 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

What else would you do with these smoky almonds?

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(Image: Emma Christensen)