We like this recipe, adapted from the late Bill Neal's Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie (Alfred A. Knopf, 1990).
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 pinches cayenne
- 1⁄2 tsp. sugar (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. dry sherry
- 2 cups shelled pecan halves
- 1⁄4 tsp. coarse salt
Preheat oven to 325°. Melt butter with cayenne and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in dry sherry. Toss shelled pecan halves with the melted butter in a medium mixing bowl.
Transfer nuts to a baking sheet, arrange in a single layer, sprinkle with coarse salt, and bake, stirring once or twice, until toasted, about 15 minutes. (Do not overbrown or nuts will be bitter.) Remove nuts from oven and season with additional salt, if you like. Serve warm or at room temperature.