I know I had had roasted chestnuts before I lived in Italy. I mean, it's part of one of my favorite Christmas carols: The Christmas Song by Mel Tormé.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos
Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe
Help to make the season bright
Tiny little tots with their eyes all aglow
Will find it hard to sleep tonight
They know that Santa's on his way
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh
And ev'ry mother's child is gonna spy
To see if reindeer really know how to fly
And I have a recollection of peeling and eating them with my grandmother when I was a child. But the memory is hazy and I don't really remember if it was with my mom's mom or my dad's mom. I do know, however, that it wasn't until I lived in Italy that I ate them regularly.
I remember walking by those corner stands during the holidays. That smell of smoky wood, that taste of sweet meaty nuts. I tried to explain it to the boys this weekend and they just laughed. "You ate nuts roasted on the street in large metal pails? Like garbage cans?!!" Well, not exactly. Then I found this photo [below] and they understood a little bit better.
|photo from https://italiannotes.com/italian-street-food-roasted-chestnuts/|
So, when I saw a bag of chestnuts at the market I scooped it up. This is hardly a recipe - more of a process - but if you have never roasted chestnuts, you should! Jake says he doesn't remember ever eating chestnuts like this. I'm glad I could introduce him to one of my favorite holiday traditions.
- sharp knife
- baking sheet
Preheat oven to 400 degress F.
Carefully use a knife to slice an 'x' or a cross into the rounded side of the chestnut. Place the chestnut on a baking sheet.
Place the chestnuts in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
The scored skin should curl open and you'll easily be able to peel the chestnuts. Once they are cool enough to handle, serve immediately!