A small bowl of these salty, smoky Spanish Spiced Almonds, known as Almendras Fritas in Spain, makes a great shared starter or a happy hour snack. Paleo and Vegan.
These smoky Spanish Spiced Almonds were served to us as a tapa in Spain, where they're known as almendras fritas. We had them several times but our favourite way to eat them was served warm from a paper cone. Like some of the other tapas we had, like this Salmorejo--a chilled tomato soup- and these Tortilla Española bites I've done my best to recreate these warm spiced almonds here at home.
Spanish Spiced Almond Tapas are easy to make
Spanish smoked paprika is the key ingredient in these spiced almonds. The only other ingredients you need to dress up these nuts are some extra-virgin olive oil and a little sea salt.
Roast natural almonds on a baking sheet in the oven until they begin to darken slightly and are aromatic.
Meanwhile, combine smoked paprika and sea salt. Remove the almonds from the oven, transfer to a bowl and toss with olive oil and smoked paprika-sea salt mixture. These are delicious served warm, but they're also tasty once they've cooled.
Smoked Spanish Almonds (Almendras Fritas) are a popular tapa in Spain
We munched on these in local markets in Ronda and other cities and loved their subtle smoky flavour.
We found Spain to be a country brimming with energy, excitement, and sheer enthusiasm for life. The people we met were passionate. Apathy was not in their vocabulary at all.
For example, when we arrived in the town of Ronda in Andalusia, there was a regional cultural fiesta in progress. The weekend was jam-packed with activities, music, theatre performances, a massive food and handicraft market and more. People had come from several of the neighbouring villages to hang out with friends and relatives and simply celebrate. What struck me the most was the number who were in costume, and in incredibly authentic 18th Century costumes. Whole families--mom, dad, kids and even infants were dressed to the nines. We were dumbfounded at the high level of participation. It was easy to spot the tourists: the only ones not in costume!
We spent the day in Ronda, sampling the food in the market, watching the theatre performances, touring all the sights and simply enjoying the ambience and the pulsing energy of the fair-goers. Just as we were about to head back to our B & B, I noticed a large group heading into a building with a sign that said, "Entrada Libre" (Free Entry). While we had no idea what was beyond the doorway, we moved along with the crowd and suddenly found ourselves inside the city's huge bullring.
No bullfights, thank goodness, but incredible sights and sounds: dancing horses, stirring music, and an overly exuberant crowd cheering on the caballeros competing with their meticulously groomed horses. Being there with the locals and feeling the energy from the crowd was an amazing experience, but so difficult to describe here. You just had to be there.
So why am I telling you this instead of talking more about Spanish spiced almonds?
To urge you (if you need encouragement, that is) to take that trip you've been thinking about but have put off because (excuse #1), (excuse #2) or (excuse #3). We have found that a great adventure doesn't necessarily have to be a trip overseas or to some exotic location. A day trip to a nearby town can sometimes be just as exciting and rewarding. We learn so much about ourselves, our strengths and our weaknesses through travel.
Make this warm spiced almond tapa today and tuck a few away to have on hand for your next gathering. And think about planning your next adventure. I am!
Spanish Spiced Almonds (Almendras Fritas)
- 4 cups raw almonds
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp Spanish style smoked hot paprika
- 2 tsp sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes until aromatic and slightly darker in colour.
- Meanwhile, combine the smoked paprika and sea salt in a small dish.
- Remove almonds from the oven and place in a medium bowl.
- Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with the paprika - salt mixture. Serve warm.
Try these party spiced nuts too:
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