Ray’s The Classics, by far, one of the best steakhouses I have ever been to…
A ritual for my wife Megan and I, is to get there an hour before our reservation to have a cocktail before dinner, along with the company of a knowledgeable bartender and an endless supply of spiced cashews. This post is not a review of the great steakhouse in Silver Spring, Maryland. Nor is it a post on cooking steak. This post, my friends, is on one of those little things that help make Ray’s the best steakhouse in the land: cajun spiced cashews. Yes, everything else about Ray’s is off the freakin chart, but these little spicy/crunchy bites take it to another level. It IS the little things.
Via multiple trips, excessive tipping and persistent questioning about these spicy concoctions, no recipe has been disclosed. The only tidbit of insight came along with a fresh scoop of them and a wink. It was whispered: duck fat. So, after bowl number two and a perfectly white napkin now stained with red fingerprints, it is off to have a great steak and think about cashews some more.
I have made multiple attempts at recreating these nuts and believe I am as close as I can get without “being told, then killed”. They are a perfect Holiday snack or prequel to a good steak.
Recipe for cajun spiced cashews…
4 Cups raw cashews (about a pound)
2 Tbls Duck fat or unsalted butter
2 Tbls Sherry or red wine vinegar
1 Tbls Green Tabasco sauce
1 Tbls Franks Hot Sauce
1 Tbls ground cayenne (half this if you can’t take the heat)
1 tsp granulated garlic
2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350. In a small sauce pan, melt duck fat or butter over medium low heat. Add all ingredients except for the cashews into the saucepan. Whisk until combined and remove from heat. In a large mixing bowl, toss the cashews and the contents of saucepan together until well coated.
Spread coated cashews in one even layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and toss the cashews around to ensure even browning. Put them back in the oven until they turn a light golden brown (about 10 more minutes). Keep a close eye on them as they can burn very quickly. Let cool at room temperature for 10 minutes and watch them disappear… Have bleach ready if you have your nice white napkins out.