Health experts are learning what cooks knew all along: just a few nuts can go a long way.

Raw or cooked, nuts are nuggets of concentrated nutrients. The best thing about nuts, aside from all their nutrients, is that a few can taste like a lot. One great trick is toasting them to release their flavor and aroma; another is using slivered or chopped nuts rather than whole ones. And sprinkling nuts on top helps make their presence known.

Susan G. Purdy's most recent cookbook is Let Them Eat Cake (Morrow).