This is the season for nuts.What's great about any one of them is that they're so versatile. You can have them in salads, sides or desserts. They're also good on their own, freshly cracked and right from the shell. No matter how you have them , nuts offer an earthiness, perfect for the fall and especially the Thanksgiving table.
This was the subject of Melissa Clark's article in yesterday's A Good Appetite column in The New York Times Dining section. In it, she explores one of the autumn's table's most loved and wanted food. Right now is th e time for three favored nuts, the walnut, the pecan and the chestnut. Walnuts are usually eaten alone (although they give salads a ice crunch) . You can buy them shelled or unshelled , although only four percent of th e nuts are actually sold in their shells. They can be kept up to a year. Ms. Clark gives a great relish recipe that has walnuts mixing with the tangy sweet tastes of pomegranate and orange.
The other nut featured is that Southern classic the pecan. These are plentiful this time of year thanks to that Thanksgiving Day standard pecan pie. Pecans on their own are fantastic, buttery and chewy. In the pie, they 're just heavenly, complimenting the praline type filling .The recipe featured is not pie but couscous, a different spin for sure. Chestnuts have always been a popular treat in November. They're usually eaten for All Soul's Day through out Catholic Europe. They should be scored with an X on top to let them steam out and roasted or toasted over an open fire. Ms Clark offers her dad's way which is slitting them around their circumference and then microwaving for forty seconds. I would prefer mine plain however she makes them as a filling for a tart or in stuffing.
Nuts are always vital to a fall table. No matter what type they are, they add flavor and crunch to both dimmer and dessert. They're also good on their own a s a toasty. tasty snack in front of a roaring fire.