I spent much of my fall scoring and peeling, cooking and tasting the once-beloved and now nearly forgotten chestnut. I wrote about my journey from chestnut ambivalence to embrace here and then I took my recipes on the road to my local TV daytime show, Daytime Blue Ridge. The upshot is: Do try this at home. You will discover a one-of-a-kind taste you didn’t even know you were missing.
- 1 pound fresh chestnuts
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt (add more to taste)
- fresh-ground pepper
- Place the chestnuts flat side down on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut a deep score in the shape of an X through the skin on the rounded side of each chestnut.
- Place the chestnuts in a bowl of hot water for 1 minute. Tear a generous length of aluminum foil and place the chestnuts in it.
- Add rosemary (strip the leaves from the stalk with your fingers), butter, salt and pepper. Stir to coat. Arrange chestnuts in a single layer in center of foil and gather up edges of foil around chestnuts, leaving a large opening on top.
- Place the packet on a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until the edges of the chestnut shells noticeably curl up, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and peel off the shell and the skin at the X. (A paring knife can help.) Do this quickly as the shells are harder to peel when cold.
- Transfer chestnuts to a platter, using a spatula to scrape in any butter and spices with them. Serve hot or warm.