Savoring the Chestnut

By Sarah Lagrotteria | Last Updated September 01, 2016
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What to Cook

Chestnuts evoke more nostalgia than any other nut, which is odd considering most of us have never eaten, cracked or roasted one. The drift between our cultural memory and actual experience is rooted in the American landscape. Chestnut trees once swelled the nation’s forest. Then fungal blight (see page 9) nearly destroyed our chestnut tree population, leaving us longing for a fragrance and flavor few of us know.

Let’s remedy that. I fell in love with chestnuts while living in France. There, as in Italy, sweet, soft chestnut meat is a familiar taste and texture. For those new to chestnuts, I offer here a traditional French holiday dessert and a new take on Brussels sprouts with bacon.

Chestnut Mont Blanc

chestnut mont blanc
Whimsical, wobbly and grand, Mont Blanc is a traditional French holiday dessert that widens eyes and elicits “Que c’est beau!”s from around the table. Do as the French do and buy Clement...

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Chestnuts

roasted brussels sprouts with chestnuts
If you’re game, use a sharp knife to carve an X in the round side of two handfuls of fresh chestnuts in their shells. Roast them at 425°, X-side up, for 20–25 minutes. They’re ready when the...
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