11/09/2007

11-09-07 - 1

I mail ordered a 9 pound bag of raw in-shell peanuts cuz I can't find them anywhere here. Well, I found out that 9 pounds is a whole lot of peanuts. I still haven't found the right recipe for roasting them. Alton has a Good Eats on peanuts, but I don't like his method, I can't get nearly enough salt on the peanuts that way and wind up having to use a salt-lick while I eat them. Commercial roasted peanuts are way saltier than his method. I'm pretty sure that commercial roasted peanuts are blanched in a brine or at least soaked in brine before drying and roasting. Perhaps the commercial brining is even done while they're still green before the initial drying?

So far this is my working method for peanuts : dissolve 1 tablespoon of kosher salt in 1/2 cup of water, bring to a boil, stir to make sure salt is fully dissolved. Add 2 cups of raw peanuts (in shell) and stir while boiling until all the water is gone (just a few minutes). Pour peanuts out onto a sheet pan, then put in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until roasted to desired color (shells should be just starting to darken). If you can smell them in the oven they're probably done. Allow to cool - they harden as they cool, so you can eat them sooner if you like them warm and somewhat soft.

Revision : I think it's better to use just the minimum amount of water possible to dissolve the 1 tbsp of salt. That seems to be slightly more than 1/4 cup of water. It won't dissolve until the water is nearly boiling.

Peanuts can be roasted to various amounts of doneness, and it's pretty much exactly analogous to a coffee roast. Lightly roasted peanuts still taste somewhat grassy, more like a boiled peanut. Medium roast is what you normally get and think of as peanut flavor. Dark roast brings more of the oil to the surface and has a stronger sort of charred flavor, just like a french roast coffee. I enjoy all the different flavors of a peanut, but my default is somewhere in the medium-dark range. One of the real joys of roasting yourself is getting to eat them while they're still warm. They're SOOO much better than roasted chestnuts which I still don't understand.

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