By Fred Decker

Gently toasting nuts does wonderful things, deepening and adding complexity to their innate flavor. The effect is especially noticeable with pine nuts, which are otherwise so low key when they're raw. Toasting them lends a much richer flavor that complements a wide range of salads, sauces, vegetables and meats. The simplest way to toast pine nuts is in a skillet, but they heat unevenly and are prone to scorching. The oven gives a more consistent result.

Pine nuts
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How to Toast Pine Nuts in the Oven

Step 1

Place a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat it to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If the oven tends to run hot, or if you've noticed that it heats unevenly, heat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit instead. The nuts take longer to toast, but a lower temperature reduces the risk of scorching.

Step 2

Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the pine nuts on it in a single layer.

Step 3

Slide the sheet pan into the oven, positioning it in the middle of the rack so hot air can circulate around it evenly on all sides.

Step 4

Toast the nuts for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your oven's heat, stirring them with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon every 2 to 3 minutes. (Stir at the shorter interval if your oven is prone to overheating or uneven heating.)

Step 5

Remove the nuts from the oven when they reach a consistent golden-brown color and smell richly aromatic. If you're using the lower oven temperature for safety's sake, this might require a few extra minutes.