ANNA’S ROASTED CHESTNUTS
CHESTNUT MINI MOVIE
Click here to see a clip that captures why the chestnut season was special to me growing up at the foothills of Mt Vesuvius and continues to be so today.
Special thanks goes to our talented and generous filmmaking friend Andrew Beck.
Chestnuts are ready to pick off the tree when the protective, spiky outer layer has opened up to reveal it’s beautifully glossy interior. Wearing good thick gloves, prize out the nut. If there are chestnuts on the ground, still in their protective layer, roll them under your foot; this will make it easier to extract your treasure.
When buying chestnuts from a green grocer check that they’re being stored in a dry, cool place and that they’re still looking beautifully glossy.
Score the chestnut; place a cross or a single line across the flat face of the nut; this makes peeling easier and avoids the nut exploding (it can happen – ask my father!).
Set the oven to 220 degrees.
Place the scored chestnuts on a rack; this helps the air to circulate around them. Alternatively, place on a baking tray and shake after ten minutes.
They’ll be ready in around 20 minutes. The scoring marks will be widened and the creamy flesh within tender.
Remove from the oven and wrap in tea towel for a couple of minutes; this softens the shells and makes peeling easier.
You can now add your roasted chestnuts to everything from fresh pasta and baked risotto to simple bowl of steamed seasonal greens dressed with a splash of olive oil. Personally, I like them just a pinch of rock salt, a glass of estate red and a roaring open fire.