Pecans. Or PEE-cans as they’re called here in Texas. They are found everywhere in the state. In pecan orchards. At farmer’s markets. Heck, even in many people’s front yards. They fall from the trees in little cocoons of hard shells, and tempt the squirrels and other vermin around here to gather them up and have a little nut buffet.
And since here in South Central Texas the weather allows us to wander around with bare feet longer than in other parts of the country, they also mean that you have to watch your step if you’re wandering through a yard that has pecan trees! Not that I know anything about that (ouch!).
We are super fortunate that instead of having to find a local vendor to get a pecan fix, all we have to do is visit my in-laws. They have several trees on their land, and we come away with bags and bags (and bags!) of fresh pecans. I toss them in the freezer and pull them out when I need some for a dish. Oh, and did I mention that my awesome father-in-law shells them ALL by hand? Yeah, he’s pretty great. I think we’ll keep him around.
There are so many types of nuts out there to nibble on and use in a multitude of ways. Just consider how many different types I used last summer during my Pesto Party! But pecans, in my not-so-humble opinion, are different than many others in that they have a softer texture than their walnut, almond, pine nut and other nutty brethren. Because of that, they have an almost meaty texture when they are freshly shelled. I think that’s why I like them on salads, in baked goods, and simply eaten by the handful so much more than other legumes.
But you know how I like them the best? Candied! Candied, with a bit of zip to them. The flavors in this particular recipe are all things Texas—salty, sweet, spicy, and a little meaty. Each one has a little different flavor, and you never quite know which one will give you a little kick!
Sweet & Spicy Texas Pecans are a treat no matter which flavors you like the best.