Most North Americans think habanero equals fire. I think habanero equals aromas of tropical fruit and flowers... plus some pretty searing heat. By roasting habaneros along with garlic and blending them into seasoning, we’ve already mitigated their heat without doing too much damage to that beautifully aromatic flavor. Adding a touch of honey soothes the heat to a very manageable glow.
Still scared about using habaneros? Try using two or three serrano chiles (or two small jalapeños) instead.
- 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1 -2 habanero chiles, stemmed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups macadamia nuts*
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a dry skillet, roast the unpeeled garlic and chiles over medium heat, turning them regularly until soft and blotchy-blackened in spots, about 10 minutes for the habanero and 10-15 minutes for the garlic. When the garlic has cooled, peel off the papery skin.
In a mortar or small food processor, combine the garlic and habanero. Pound or process until as smooth as possible. Add the oil, honey, and salt and pound or process to incorporate thoroughly.
In a large bowl, combine the macadamia nuts and flavoring, stirring to thoroughly coat the nuts. Spread the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until the nuts smell toasty and the flavorings have formed a shiny, dryish coating, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. The nuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.