After extensive testing and research in the name of scientific inquiry, I have determined that there definitely is a right way and a wrong way to roast chestnuts.
Wrong way: forget to cut the hard shells before putting them into the oven causing a minor (but terrifying) explosion.
Right way: let them steam in a shallow water bath as they roast so the inner ‘furry’ skin is easier to peel off.
In my happy years of chestnut-guzzling, I’ve also found that there’s a knack to picking them. You want a chestnut that’s hard to the touch and not discoloured or cracked. These guys are delicate and very perishable so they tend to mould if kept in a bin at the supermarket for days on end.
When you get them home, store them in the fridge until you’re ready to roast and don’t let them get damp.
- sea salt
- Using a sharp knife because the outer shell is tough, score a deep ‘X’ into each nut.
- Place them (cut side down) on a baking tray filled with water about half an inch deep.
- Roast at 420 for 30 minutes. Remove from tray and gently peel off the shell and inner skin (it’s easier to do this while they’re hot, but be careful of burning your fingers).
- Eat with a little sea salt or store in the fridge where they’ll keep for about up to two days.
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