Jerk Peanuts Add A Spicy Crunch To Almost Any Dish

A centuries-old Jamaican tradition, jerk seasoning is a vibrant spice mixture of dried chilies, aromatics, baking spices, and herbs. While its most famous application is in a marinade for jerk chicken, pork, or fish, jerk seasoning also transforms peanuts into a spicy and savory addition to a wide range of dishes.

Peanuts offer a buttery, nutty savoriness that pairs well with the spiciness of the peppers in the seasoning. You can purchase jerk seasoning at any grocery store, or make your own to control the heat level. Plus, it's a lot easier and quicker to make jerk peanuts than it is to make an entire chicken dish. Instead of creating a liquid marinade, you'll sprinkle the seasoning over oiled peanuts before placing them in the oven to crisp up and absorb the flavors. Cooling them will further seal their flavors and solidify their crunch. Then you can store jerk peanuts in an airtight container in your pantry or fridge for up to a week.

Jerk peanuts' spicy, savory profile and delightful crunch would complement hot and cold dishes, from soup to salad and everything in between. And, of course, they make the perfect snack to eat by the handful, accompanied by a cold beer or tropical cocktail.

Dish pairing ideas for jerk peanuts

As a Caribbean culinary tradition used to elevate meat and fish marinades or rubs, jerk seasoning complements rich, robust proteins as well as vibrant tropical ingredients. Likewise, jerk peanuts would be a delicious garnish to spice up a panoply of tropical dishes. If you wanted to keep in line with Caribbean tradition, you could garnish Jamaican rice and peas or Cuban congri with jerk peanuts, or add them to coconut-milk-based curries, from Jamaican goat curry to Thai peanut-based Panang curry.

Many of the zesty and vibrant tropical dishes of Mexico would be perfect recipients for jerk peanuts. Top a plate of chicken mole with them or sprinkle them over fresh fish tacos with a squeeze of lime juice. Their crunchy texture would also make the perfect topping to contrast tender stews and creamy soups. They'd enhance the underlying peanut flavor and complement the sweetness of an African sweet potato and peanut soup. Use them to add a spicy, crunchy kick to a Brazilian moqueca fish stew, or swap out regular peanuts with the spiced iteration for Asian stir-fries like Kung Pao chicken and Pad Thai.

Jerk peanuts make a texturally delightful topper for salads, slaws, and grain bowls. Tangy citrus-based dressings give spicy jerk peanuts the perfect sweet and sour complement, while ranch and bleu cheese would temper their spiciness with creamy undertones.