Friday, October 10, 2008

roasted chestnuts: uncomplicated

finally. today seemed like the first day of the fall season in the gourmet ghetto. it was sunny....yet, the air had a bit of a cool bite to it. it seemed a bit appropriate that i roast the fresh ca-grown chestnuts that i picked up at my local market. while i was at the market, i remember circling the fresh chestnut bin a few times....trying to decide if i should buy them since it has been so warm recently. who wants to use the oven on a hot day? especially for something that would take considerably longer than toast?

yet, i decided to buy some....anticipating that the weather would cool down enough. as usual, i bought them without knowing how to cook them. so i looked through a couple of cookbooks like the yellow gourmet cookbook...which said...btw... that you should just buy the bottled ones in a sidebar note...this appeared next to their recipe for chestnut ravioli. thanks. thanks much. then i went to the web, and found another gourmet recipe that called for roasting them on the stove top and using oil. "hmmmm, too complicated", i thought to myself. i could just imagine my fingers slipping with the oil. i read through the epicurious reviews and also saw how one person posted a warning about setting off the fire alarm....that made the determination for me to skip that version. then, of course, i found one at the bbc. it had to be at the bbc didn't it? if you want to take a look at the bbc recipe, go here.

ummmm, i didn't follow it exactly...but it was a good reference. i did preheat the oven to 400 degrees. however, i didn't cut a X or cross into the nuts...i just cut into them the tip....enough to pierce them. it was still morning when i was doing this and i had visions of the paring knife slipping and me needing to get to a hospital asap...and that ...well, that would have been just peachy. so i decided to lower the chances of me needing to go to a hospital by only cutting into each chestnut once.

then....instead of a roasting pan, i put them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

they did take about 30 minutes and the smell was lovely.

since i wanted to eat them as a snack throughout the day, i found them relatively easy to peel...for the ones that weren't as easy, i put a cloth over them and used the heel of my palm to apply a smashing-like pressure to it. interestingly enough, that worked out pretty well.

when i got impatient about peeling a particularly stubborn nut that didn't want to give up the inner skin...i used a garlic peeler. you of those plastic tubes that strips off garlic skin...that worked out pretty good. well, it worked out for me because i clean my garlic peeler very very well. if you don't...then, hmmm....perhaps it would be best to skip using the peeler. just a thought.

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