If any ingredient proves that small can be mighty, it's the pine nut. The edible seeds of some pine tree species, largely harvested in places with a Mediterranean climate, pine nuts pack a ton of flavor into a tiny, richly textured seed, and have health benefits, too. They can also be a flavor chameleon, a main ingredient in desserts like tarts, cookies, and brittles as well as savory dishes, too. One of the best ways to use pine nuts is in the starter course, by mixing them into dips for crudité, frying into finger foods, or pairing with beef in empanada fillings. While, of course, you know them as an essential ingredient in authentic pesto, we also love them as a topping for vegetable side dishes, salads, and grains.
Toasting pine nuts before using them brings out a more robust flavor, and browns and fortifies the nut to add a crispier, crunchier texture.