Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chestnuts Roasting Over An Open Fire

Two years ago we took a cruise of the Mediterranean and fell in love with Portugal.  It was the week of Thanksgiving to us, but they were already decorating for the holidays.  Coming from northern California I had never had fresh roasted chestnuts.  What a wonderful thing, as you walk down the street holding a paper cone (that is keeping your hands warm) and nibbling as you break them from their shells.  The street vendors used an actual open fire, but we have brought them home and roasted them in our oven.

This time of year you can find chestnuts at the farmers market or the grocery store; you want to look for ones that feel heavy in weight with a clean shell and no mold.  They are very easy to prep, with a paring knife cut a cross in the shell and lay out on a cookie sheet, then bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, till they expand and the shell cracks open (see the photo).  It is very important to cut the X so they can expand, last year I missed one and it exploded in the oven like loud popcorn. Then just sit back and enjoy.

They are the only nut that contains vitamin C, they contain no gluten (they often make flour out of them), and they are also a source of Iron and Potassium.

If you want a fun and healthy snack for a holiday event – roast some chestnuts.


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