Chestnuts are making their way back to the street vendors. Sometimes, stepping out of a metro stop, I smell the familiar smoky charcoal smell of the roasters and almost stop to buy a handful.
But invariably, whenever I do buy some, they’re nearly impossible to peel. That’s why I’ve taken to roasting them at home — I can cut huge slits in the peels before roasting them, and they nearly fall off after being roasted.
I’ve also found what seems to be the perfect dipping sauce for chestnuts: chestnut honey, or miel de châtaignier, mixed with a good amount of coarse-ground pepper. The tongue-coating quality of the honey helps to mitigate the tendency of fresh-roasted chestnuts of being a little dry, and the pepper cuts through their creaminess with some spice. And I must admit, pairing honey made from chestnut flowers with the nuts that those trees eventually produced is pleasingly recursive.
Roasted Chestnuts with Black Pepper Honey
From Bon Appétit.
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
36 fresh chestnuts
Stir the honey and pepper together and set aside.
Heat oven to 425°F (220°C).
Cut large X’s into the flat sides of each chestnut with a sharp paring knife or a serrated blade. Scatter the chestnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the shells around the cut X’s curl back from the flesh and a toothpick poked into the nut meat meets no resistance. Cool chestnuts briefly.
Peel the chestnuts and eat while still warm, dipped in the black pepper honey.
Music to cook by: Slow and Steady [Of Monsters and Men // My Head Is An Animal]