Mildred’s Fried Walnuts are Irresistible
The first time I had dinner in New York City with Mildred Ying, who was then Food Director of Good Housekeeping magazine, we began our dinner conversation with small talk about family.
We found both of our husbands are named Steve – what a coincidence. Then I asked about her children and discovered that, like me, she has two sons. Their names (surprise!) are Christopher and David, just like my boys. The only difference is that her Christopher is the older and in my family, he’s the younger.
Mildred said she had one granddaughter and her name is Kristen, which would have been David’s name if he had been a girl.
At that point, Mildred turned to me laughing, and said, “Are you sure your name isn’t Mildred?”
We had many more dinners together until Mildred and Steve retired and moved to Massachusetts. But we never forgot how we bonded over family names.
My other favorite memory of Mildred is of her Chinese fried walnuts. It’s a simple recipe with just four ingredients but the resulting flavor is complex and so delicious, it’s irresistible.
When my kids were young and we would go to Hawaii on vacation, with so many relatives to bring gifts for and with the airline tickets already straining our budget, we’d try to save money by making jams and chutneys with summer fruit from the farmers’ market. And we would make Mildred’s fried walnuts.
This is a great recipe for a Halloween snack or to make as gifts at Christmas. You can package the walnuts in beautiful tins. Here’s the recipe, with permission from Mildred, to share with you.
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Mildred Ying’s Fried Walnuts
4 cups California walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
- In large saucepan over high heat, heat 6 cups water to boiling; add walnuts and reheat to boiling; cook 1 minute. Rinse under running hot water; drain.
- In large bowl, add sugar and walnuts; toss.
- Meanwhile, in electric skillet (or regular skillet), heat about 1 inch salad oil to 350°F. With slotted spoon, add about half the walnuts to oil; fry 5 minutes or until golden, stirring often.
- With slotted spoon, place walnuts in coarse sieve over bowl to drain; sprinkle with salt, toss lightly to keep walnuts from sticking together. Transfer to waxed paper to cool. Store in tightly covered container. Makes 4 cups.
Note: do not try to drain on paper towels; the sugar coating will stick to the paper.
Recipe courtesy Mildred Ying.
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