When we think of chestnuts, we think of poultry, bacon bits, mushrooms and chestnut skin. The chestnut is then roasted or caramelized and works well because it contains carbohydrates (almost 40%) and some protein (in the fruit, but also in the butter that can be added to the recipe). Heat causes Maillard reactions and caramelization reactions.
Caramelized, grilled and roasted notes develop. The formed molecules are similar to those found in coffee or chocolate (roasting), grilled meat molecules (still Maillard reactions) and also old alcohols aged in barrels (rum, whiskey, cognac).
If you appreciate this particular taste, it’s because all of these foods are “good chemistry.”
Pan-fried pears and chestnuts recipe
Based on these similarities in aromatic molecules, roasted chestnuts can be combined with other products: hazelnuts, truffles, coffee, pears, grilled sesame, bacon, smoked salmon, roasted peanuts… Invent more.
Original recipe idea: pan-fried pears and chestnuts with coffee.
· Fry some chestnuts in a little fat and add diced pears.
· When the pears turn brown, deglaze by adding coffee
· Just before serving, sprinkle with crushed peanuts.
· Enjoy with fish or poultry fillet.
The roasted chestnut-coffee-pear-peanut accords are juicy. And the good news: by making it half chestnuts, half pears, you’ll cut the calories almost in half compared to a chestnut dish.
Chestnuts… in a salad
Another flavor profile of chestnuts is less well known than the roasted or grilled chestnut. It is a chestnut freshly steamed or in a thin broth.
Chestnuts contain hexan-1-ol, a molecule responsible for the freshness, “greenness” of a green apple, blackcurrant, ax, tarragon or even a kiwi.
Therefore, it is a very good taste idea to associate chestnuts, for example finely chopped in a salad or even crushed like bulgur, with “green” notes: celery, grapefruit, dill or green apple. Add aromatic herbs, a drizzle of olive oil and sesame for salads that really transform.
Chestnuts are worth it because peeling them is still a bit tedious. Some advocate “thermal shock” which involves freezing them and then putting them in a cooking pan.
Hot peeling is not pleasant, to avoid it is better to place them in a towel burn your fingers.
Whole chestnuts cooked in the microwave can cause them to explode. This is not recommended, otherwise the skin will have to be cut.
This is good with a pressure cooker because it creates pressure. At high temperature and pressure, the “large” surface fibers that make up the skin break down easily.
Otherwise, the solution may be to put a teaspoon of baking soda in the boiling water, because baking soda also affects the fibers by softening the structure. It is suitable for lentils, chickpeas, dried beans and chestnuts.
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