Heat releases and intensifies the rich flavor of pine nuts, which is why the Black Cod with Pine Nuts, Tomatoes, and Olives recipe and the Pork Chops Stuffed with Pine Nuts and Herbs recipe, call for toasted nuts. There are three ways to go about toasting the nuts, each with its own pros and cons:
Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, 5 to 10 minutes.
Pro: The color of oven-toasted nuts is evenly golden.
Con: You have to heat the oven. We tend to use this method only if we're heating the oven for other reasons, too.
Spread the nuts on the baking sheet that came with the toaster oven and bake at 325°F, stirring frequently, until golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Pro: Produces results similar to those from a conventional oven, but a toaster oven heats up much faster and is more energy efficient.
Con: Closer proximity to the heating elements in a toaster oven increases the risk of burning the nuts, hence the need for more frequent stirring and a lower baking temperature.
Put the nuts in a dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden in spots, about 3 minutes.
Pro: The quickest and most convenient method.
Con: The nuts develop spotty, uneven color and burn more easily than with the two oven methods.
More on Pine Nuts - Read Tiny Pine Nuts Play a Big Role in Cooking to learn more about how pine nuts can add flavor and texture to everything from pasta to cookies.