When I moved to New York City in 2006 I got my first job waiting tables at a wonderful restaurant called Tabla. It was great for me in so many ways. I met new friends, and had the opportunity to work for a really wonderful company called Union Square Hospitality Group. They owned several restaurants in the city, all of which were amazing. (You may have heard of their burger chain Shake Shack- the original was right outside Tabla’s doors and I enjoyed many a Shack burger during my break between shifts.)
In addition to benefits like medical/dental insurance, they had this amazing voucher program. After 3 months of work all employees got a little debit card type thing where a set amount was deposited per month to eat at any of the USHG restaurants. You could save up to 3 months and if you were smart enough to dine out with a fellow employee, a pretty amazing meal was in store for you.
I tried all of the restaurants in the group, but the one that I hold dearest to my heart is Union Square Cafe. It quickly because my favorite restaurant ever, and I have so many memories of special dinners at that place. I took pretty much anyone I cared about to dinner there, always blown away, always in love with the rustic Italian food and amazing service. I remember a solo lunch at the bar one day, just walking by and spontaneously checking to see what my chances of getting in were, (they were always packed.) I scored a seat at the bar, had an amazing lunch, which I somehow had room for despite snacking on these addictive nuts beforehand.
Union Square Cafe will always hold such a special place in my heart. I feel like there was this huge part of my life, my “coming of age” maybe where this was an essential place for all special occasions. All of their recipes, these simple bar nuts included, are amazing and I am so excited to share it with you.
Chances are you’ve already seen it circulating the web. It’s out there published on lots of blog and websites, but in case you aren’t familiar- get cracking and make these right now! I have a jar waiting for my Christmas Eve spread, but chances are they won’t last until then and I’m totally fine with that.
These nuts are a touch sweet, a touch spicy, and a touch salty, a combo that is really just perfect. They are so good warm, but I made them and am storing them in the fridge until the next time we have company when I’ll rewarm them. Trust me- make these and see how addicting they are!
- 3 cups assorted unsalted nuts*
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne**
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Spread nuts on a large, rimmed cookie sheet, and bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden and fragrant.
- In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter, rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, and salt.
- When the nuts are done roasting, add them to the bowl and toss well to evenly coat with the mixture.
- Spread them back on the sheet and bake for 5 more minutes.
- Serve warm, but can be stored in an airtight container and re-warmed when you're ready to serve.
**Start with ¼ teaspoon of cayenne and add the extra to taste if you want them more spicy. Not all cayennes are created equal. ¼ teaspoon was perfect for me.