When an ingredient list is as brief as this one there is nowhere for poor quality ingredients to hide. Get the best walnuts you can as they won’t have the bitterness that tends to come with older, cheaper ones. With the balsamic, avoid anything that lists in its ingredients caramel or colouring.
Once you’re all set with the ingredients this is a very quick and simple way to use balsamic vinegar to transform conventional sweet, toasted nuts into something with much more depth. Try them crumbled over desserts; or chop into savoury dishes such as braised red cabbage to give a sweet edge. I also like to sprinkle salt flakes over the nuts as they cool to then have them alongside a whiskey cocktail.
100g walnut halves
40g light brown demerara sugar
1tsp balsamic vinegar
Cover a large plate or baking sheet with baking paper. Put the walnut halves, sugar and balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes. Stir frequently to coat the nuts in the balsamic syrup. Stop when they smell toasted - go much further and they’ll burn.
Spread the coated nuts onto the baking paper separating them from each other, and leave to cool.
(This recipe originally featured for Borough Market.)