Nueces En Texas: How To Roast Pecans
Food is memory and the pecan is a good example of this. Pecan is an iconic ingredient in many Texas Mexican dishes.
Near Del Río, Texas, archaeological evidence dates the pecan back 5,000 years. (Dial & Black, 2006) Native cooks, our ancestors, would grind them up, mix them with seeds and grains for a nutritous protein-rich meal. Cabeza de Vaca attested to this in the 1500’s when he traveled along the San Antonio and Guadalupe rivers whose banks were loaded with pecan groves. Over the centuries our cuisine has incorporated pecans in creative and delicious ways.
My amá used roasted pecan pieces in her cornbread dressing, as I do now, and every time I do so, I sense her presence. A wonderful thing.
Dulce De Leche Quemada is a candy with pecans. When I cooked the little candies and presented them as sculptures at an art show, “The Candy Shop,” one of my artist friends took a bite and recalled a flood of memories “I was a boy, and barefoot.” He is from New Braunfels, TX, and pecans, abundant there, form part of his being.
Although raw pecans are tasty, I almost always roast them. First I heat the oven to 350F. I spread the pecan pieces onto a baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt. Place them in the oven and roast for 8 minutes. It doesn’t take long. The difference in flavor is dramatic.
Dial, S., & Black, S. (2006, September 18). Pecan . Retrieved from http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/st-plains/nature/images/pecan.html