Have you tried... Chestnuts?
BY NICOLE MARSHALL MIDDLETON World Scene Writer
Thursday, December 20, 2012
12/20/12 at 3:43 AM
Chestnuts have a taste unlike any other nut.
They can be eaten raw, but they are probably best known in their roasted form.
I roasted them in the oven, however, not over an open fire.
The meat of the nut tasted sweeter than expected. It was mealy, which explains why some recipes use like potatoes.
The nuts are commonly used as an ingredient in poultry stuffing and soups.
Chestnut flour is also used to flavor many Tuscan recipes such as polenta, sweet breads, biscuits and cakes.
It is important to cut the skins of the fresh chestnuts before you roast them, or they could explode.
OVEN ROASTED CHESTNUTS
1/2 pound chestnuts
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Find the flat side of each chestnut and cut a large X with a sharp paring knife all the way through the skin.
2. Place chestnuts on a shallow baking pan and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on size of nuts. Shake pan several times to rotate chestnuts so they will cook evenly.
3. Peel roasted chestnuts as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Once they cool completely, they are difficult to peel. They may be reheated briefly to aid in peeling.
OPEN-FIRE ROASTED CHESTNUTS
Put fresh scored whole chestnuts over an open fire, like a campfire, or a grill. Depending on the heat source (electric, gas or coals), chestnuts should be roasted for about 15-20 minutes. The nuts will cook more evenly if they are in constant motion, either by shaking the pan or hand-stirring (while wearing an old, thick glove) constantly until roasted.
Use this chestnut butter as a spread on crackers and bread.
GARLICKY CHESTNUT BUTTER
Yield: 1 cup
1/3 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup cooked and peeled coarsely chopped chestnuts
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small sprig parsley
1. Combine the onions, garlic, olive oil and thyme in a skillet and cook, stirring over medium-high heat for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the onions are softened. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water if needed to prevent burning. Add the chestnuts and cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes longer.
2. Transfer the mixture to the food processor, add the water and salt, and process until smooth and creamy. Spoon the Garlicky Chestnut Butter into a serving bowl, garnish with the parsley, and provide a spreading knife.
1. Chestnuts have about half the calories of other nuts and the lowest fat content of all the main edible nuts.
2. Chestnuts are chiefly made of starch when compared with other seeds and nuts, which are high in calories, protein and fat. Their nutritional composition is more similar to starchy foods such as sweet potatoes, corn, potatoes, plantains, etc.
3. Chestnuts are cool-season crops and are available in the markets from October through March, peaking in December.
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