Even in San Francisco, for a week or two in December, you can find roasted chestnut vendors at Union Square.
You can try to find time to make your way downtown during a busy holiday just to buy a little expensive paper bag of chestnuts that aren’t even organic, anyway.
Or – really – you can roast your own organic chestnuts – the whole reason for this recipe because we sell organic chestnuts!! – and your kitchen will truly smell delicious.
More like a starch than a nut, the roasted chestnuts are a perfect sweet & savory snack.
The key is create enough hot steam so that the chestnuts peel easily.
So here’s the deal.
1 pound chestnuts
1/2 cup water
1. Heat the oven to 475 deg F.
2. Using a sharp knife, cut an “X” about 1 inch long through the shell on the round side of each chestnut. (Not the side that was attached to the tree!)
Measure out about 2 feet of aluminum foil and set it over a baking sheet. Place the chestnuts in the middle of the foil in a single layer. Bring the shorter sides of the foil up so they just meet. Crimp the longer sides over to create a seal. Leave a 1-inch hole at the top to create a vent.
3. Pour the water – with a measuring cup or another cup with a spout – into the vent and cook the foil pouch in the oven for 5 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375°F, carefully pull the foil down all the way to expose the chestnuts, and continue to cook until tender, about 25-30 minutes more. Peel when cool enough to handle.
Total cooking time: 30-40 minutes, depending upon oven.
White Bean Salad
1 lb small white beans (navy or northern)
1 handful fresh tarragon
1/2 bunch scallions, chopped
1/2 cup (approx) diced sundried tomatoes in olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
White wine or Champagne vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste (I might use a little lavender, thyme or tomato salt. Also I prefer white pepper for its delicacy, but regular black will do)
*optional dash of smoked paprika
*optional veggies you might add = 1 diced red bell pepper, grains from one cob of corn, or one handful of halved cherry tomatoes
I like to soak the beans overnight, drain, rinse. Bring a pot of water to a boil 2 cups to one cup beans for unsoaked, 1.5 cups to one of soaked. Boil beans until tender, then drain and rinse in cold water until room temp.
Scooping in the sundried tomatoes, being generous with the oil they are marinated in. This oil adds greatly to the flavor. Also add the tarragon and scallions and mix together with your hands. It’s messy, but will not squish the beans. Add any other veggies you want at this point too (except cherry toms, save those for last because of the squish factor)
Add 2-4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar and an equivalent amount of olive oil (or a vinagrette recipe of your own) and mix in by hand.
Add juice of lemon, salt and pepper, and optional paprika “to taste”.
Let sit and marinate for at least a couple of hours, overnight is best.
Duck Egg and Summer Vegetable Frittata
With no crust or added milk, Frittata is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to use up a box of eggs. We like using rich, yolky Salmon Creek duck eggs, but you could also use pastured chicken eggs instead.
6-8 large eggs
½ cup olive oil
1 cup grated hard or semi-hard cheese
1 cup chopped white or crimini mushrooms
1 cup chopped spring zucchini
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 small sliced red onion
½ bunch chopped green onion
*1 handful of chopped fresh herbs (optional)
1 tsp herbes de Provence
1-2 generous pinch salt or seasoned salt
1 pinch white pepper
Heat the olive oil in a 12” cast iron skillet (you can also use a non-stick skillet if you are not planning to brown in the oven). Lightly sauté the red onion, zucchini, mushrooms, and green onion at medium-high heat. Add fresh herbs and tomato and cover with lid to heat through. Beat eggs, dried herbs, salt and pepper, and add grated cheese. Pour and spread egg mixture over the vegetables and let cook in pan for about ten minutes, shaking occasionally. At this point I like to cheat by covering the pan for about five minutes with the lid to let the steam puff the egg up and then slide into an oven preheated to 400 and cook for about ten more minutes—until it’s set enough that a knife poked through the center comes out clean. Remove skillet from oven and allow frittata to finish setting at room temperature. Place an inverted dinner plate over the top of the skillet over the frittata, and flip the whole thing over to remove from the pan. Great served immediately, or as cold leftovers.