A Spicy Halloween Hors D’Oeuvre

by Tom Steele

I’m having some friends over for Halloween this year, and I want to make something scary-spicy as an hors d’oeuvre. Got an idea and a recipe? Thanks!
Evan McIntire, Hartford, Connecticut

Sure, Evan. These are mighty delicious and as spicy as you want to make them. Be sure everyone has something to drink before you put them out, because people all have different heat tolerance.
Flaming Hot Peanuts

You can control the heat in this zippy preparation by selecting bottled sauces with less heat, but this recipe is really for people who like very spicy food. God knows there’s plenty of mild stuff out there for the rest of you. I’d advise you to write down your own approximate combinations for future reference, because people are going to want this recipe, believe me. Note that this needs to be started 2 days before serving.

2 lbs. dry-roasted, salted peanuts, such as Planter’s
1/8 cup Tabasco sauce
1/8 cup peanut oil
Juice of one lime
2 teaspoons prepared sweet red pepper relish
1/4 cup bottled or canned sliced jalapeños, drained
8 droplets of Liquid Smoke
Other hot sauce(s) of your choice

Pour the peanuts into a large sealable plastic bag. In a 1-cup glass measure, place the Tabasco sauce, oil, lime juice, red pepper relish, jalapeños, and Liquid Smoke. Add the other hot sauce(s) of your choice to fill the measuring cup to the brim. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and roughly puree with an immersion blender.

Pour the sauce over the peanuts in the bag, press the air out of the bag, seal it, and squish it around to mix well. Marinate overnight, refrigerated, turning the bag a few times.

Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Spread the peanuts over sheet. Roast gently for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring every half hour. Turn the oven off, and let the peanuts rest in the oven overnight to dry out.

Keep in airtight container(s) lined with paper towels.

Yield: 2 lbs. hot peanuts

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