Dear Nigella & Team, the recipe for Sicilian Pasta With Tomatoes, Garlic and Almonds calls for "blanched almonds". Do I have to get the special ones from a supermarket? I'm toying with the idea of skinning raw almonds (readily available at home) by hand and I was wondering if I need to boil the raw almonds first before removing the skins. Thanks!
Nigella's Sicilian Pasta With Tomatoes, Garlic And Almonds (from NIGELLISSIMA) has an uncooked sauce made by blitzing together blanched almonds, anchovies, sultanas, garlic and tomatoes. Blanched almonds are raw almonds that have had their skins removed. If blanched almonds are difficult to find and you don't mind the skins then you could use raw almonds with skins on, but this is very much a matter of personal preference.
If you wish to blanch almonds yourself then it is fairly easy to do, though a little fiddly and a bit time consuming if you are doing a large quantity. Put a saucepan of water on to boil, with enough water to completely cover the almonds. When the water comes to a full, rolling boil, add the almonds and take the pan off the heat. Let the pan stand for one minute then drain the almonds. When the almonds are cool enough to handle you should be able to slip the skins off.