I have never eaten a chestnut before but I have always been curious about them. They are sort of my inspiration for my 52 New Foods New Year's Resolution. My very good friend and college roommate Lynn was visiting over New Year's and one day we were enjoying our lunch in Chelsea Market talking about new foods and the little market across from where we sat eating our soup. I thought the market would be super expensive, but it turns out the Manhattan Fruit Exchange is not too bad. We saw a big barrel of chestnuts at a reasonable price so we bought half a pound for less than $2 and we're excited about the prospect of freshly roasted chestnuts.
The jury is still out about chestnuts. I don't dislike them, and they are not bad tasting, but they weren't over the top amazing. Maybe I did not roast them properly, I don't know. I am no longer afraid of the chestnut and I am more than willing to try them again, especially if someone else makes them! Not a bad attempt for my first try at a brand new food! The experiment will continue.
I looked up a lot of different recipes on-line and they all said basically same thing. Here is how Lynn and I roasted the chestnuts.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
2. Make a deep X in each chestnut with a paring knife. The deeper the better. It makes it easier after roasting to peel.
3. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes until they smell roasted and/or look a deeper shade of brown.
4. Right after removing from oven start to peel the hard shells and skins off. Be careful, they are hot! We used towels to hold them and a paring knife to get them open. Some chestnuts came out whole and others in pieces.
5. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and enjoy!