Chestnuts roasting in a toaster oven December 18, 2006
Some people have never eaten a roasted chestnut. Are you one of them? Because they are awesome and you need to try one. In fact, you should probably eat them as often as possible when they are season. It is one of my favorite seasonal treats (ranking right up there with egg nog).
The basic idea is to find some fresh-ish chestnuts, and roast them up in the oven on a cookie sheet. You need to cut a hole is the shell somehow to release steam and prevent the nut from blowing up. Here’s how to do it:
Picking out chestnuts
Chestnuts are a little on the expensive side, so take the time to pick through and make sure you get ones that aren’t rotten. If they smell really musty or have visible moldy spots you might want to avoid them all together. Sometimes i just buy a few and do a test bake to see if they are any good. Often they are totally moldy and disappointing, but I am glad that I didn’t buy ten bucks worth.
Preparing the nuts for roasting
The experienced heat up their ovens or toaster ovens to 425 before starting the cutting…
Chestnuts have a flat side, and a round side. The flat side will go down on the cookie sheet, and the upper side will have the steam-releasing cut on it. Get a sharp knife and get ready to do some cutting.
Cut off the pointy tip. fresh chestnuts will look white on the inside. The not-so-fresh will look brown or a fungus-y greenish color. Throw these out.
Then slice a line into the round side of the nut, making sure to go all the way through the shell to the meat. My knife was a little dull and i wanted to keep the cutting to a minimum, but i would have cut more if I had a sharp knife. It is good to also make a perpendicular cut so that you have a little cross cut. Repeat this for every chestnut you want to roast.
Toaster ovens are PERFECT for roasting chestnuts. They cook much more quickly, and you aren’t heating up an entire gigantic oven for a little tray. If you took my earlier hint, yours will already be heated up to 425. Put the chestnuts flat-side down, cut-side up on a cookie sheet in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
When the chestnuts are roasted, the shell curls back and you need to peel them before they cool all the way. They have a fuzzy skin layer in between the shell and the meat. If you don’t peel them while pretty warm, the skin will stick to meat in a highly undesireable manner. So peel them as soon as they are cool enough for you to handle.
when they are all peeled they look like delicious little brains
Now you can enjoy some sweet, delicious roasted chestnuts!