Hazelnuts often are used in sweet dessert recipes, but these scrumptious, flavorful nuts also shine in savory dishes, especially for the fall. Hazelnuts add delectable crunch to salads, pilaf, stuffing, pasta and sautÃ©ed vegetables. Here’s more on this yummy nut and a few savory hazelnut recipes.
Hazelnuts: fresh in fall
Fresh in-shell hazelnuts are fairly easy to find at your local grocer during fall. Year-round, these tasty nuts are available shelled in the bulk aisle or nut section of the supermarket.
The many forms of hazelnuts
Hazelnuts come raw or roasted, and can be used for cooking and baking. Roasted hazelnuts have a more intense flavor, so you may need to adjust the amount you use depending on the flavor you desire. Hazelnut butter and oils also can be used for cooking and baking.
When buying unshelled hazelnuts from a bulk bin, choose nuts that have no visible blemishes on the shells, show no sign of moisture, and are uniform in size. When buying shelled hazelnuts, make sure the nuts look and smell fresh. Pass them by if they have a rancid aroma.
Roast your own
To roast hazelnuts, place shelled nuts on a cookie sheet in a preheated 275 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally and taking care to not over roast them.
Unshelled hazelnuts last (in their shells) about five to six months if kept in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight. Shelled roasted hazelnuts last one to two months when sealed and kept in a cool dry place. You also can freeze hazelnuts for up to a year; simply thaw before using.
Hazelnut Cheese Crisps
1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup finely chopped, toasted hazelnuts
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine cheese with sesame seeds, hazelnuts and cayenne pepper.
3. Form mixture into 12 balls and place on a baking sheet. Flatten balls with palm of hand.
4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisps are golden. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
5. Using a spatula, move crisps from baking sheet to a cooling rack to cool further. Serve warm or let cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Makes 6 servings
1 (29-ounce) can sweet potatoes
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and finely ground
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, beat potatoes with milk, egg, ground hazelnuts, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and salt until smooth. Spoon mixture into a casserole dish.
3. Mix chopped hazelnuts with remaining brown sugar and nutmeg, flour and butter.
4. Sprinkle over casserole and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm.
Hazelnut and Rosemary Gnocchi
Makes 8 servings
1 (12-ounce) frozen or refrigerated gnocchi
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; cook gnocchi according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet. Add broth and bring to a simmer.
3. Stir in rosemary, hazelnuts, salt and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds, then remove from heat.
4. Drain pasta, stir into butter mixture, then toss to coat. Serve immediately.