“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” We all know that song! If you go to Manhattan from Thanksgiving to Christmas, you will actually smell them roasting on those street carts—not exactly an open fire, but it’s a happy smell and a healthy snack!
It’s also a tradition after a feast (not as if you need to stuff yourself with anything else, but…) to pass a plate of roasted chestnuts. Luckily, they’re super easy to make your own.
Chestnuts are seasonal nuts, available from October to January. And yes, the best ones come from Italy. You’ll find them in the fresh produce section of the grocery store.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Take the chestnuts, and one by one, cut an X in the shell. This must be done; otherwise, the chestnuts will explode while roasting. They’ll be impossible to peel, too.
- Spread the chestnuts on a baking tray and bake for about an hour.
- Serve at the table, and peel and eat immediately!
Once roasted chestnuts are cold, they become too hard to eat. So eat them while you can. Not all of them will be perfect, by the way. Finding a perfect chestnut is a bit of a crapshoot. But that’s half the fun.
If you want to roast them over an open fire, it’s the same process—simply wrap them in tinfoil or put them on the grill. Just make sure there’s enough heat to cook them all the way through, but not so much heat that they burn. It’s an art. Listening to Nat King Cole helps.