Recipe: Roasted Chestnuts for Cooking or Eating

This method for roasting chestnuts makes the flesh sweet and tender and the nuts easy to peel--perfect for using in recipes or serving as a marvelous winter hors d'oeuvre with drinks. I score the chestnut peel first and soak them in water. The residual water left in the drained chestnuts creates steam in the hot pan, keeping them from drying out and making them easy to peel.

Yields 1 pound peeled chestnuts

    • 1 1/2 pounds fresh chestnuts

With a sharp knife, make 2 criss-crossing gashes on the flat side of each chestnut. Place the chestnuts in a large bowl and cover with water by 1-inch. Let soak at least 1/2 hour and up to 1 hour. Drain the chestnuts and pat them dry. Preheat the oven to 400'.

Drain the nuts and arrange them in a roasting pan. Roast uncovered about 15-20 minutes until the shells are brittle and have curled back somewhat. Remove and let cool slightly. When the chestnuts are cool enough to handle, peel off both the hard outer shell and the inner brown skin.

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Sally Schneider writes The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog about improvising as a daily practice. Her cookbook The Improvisational Cook is now out in paperback. More

Sally Schneider is the founder of The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog that inspires you to devise, invent, create, make it up as you go along, from design and cooking to cultivating the creative spirit. It's been called a "zeitgeist-perfect website." She is a regular contributor to public radio's The Splendid Table and the author of the best-selling cookbooks The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook, which was recently named one of the best books of the decade by The Guardian. She has won numerous awards, including four James Beard awards, for her books and magazine writing.

Sally has worked as a journalist, editor, stylist, lecturer, restaurant chef, teacher, and small-space consultant, and once wrangled 600 live snails for the photographer Irving Penn. Her varied work has been the laboratory for the themes she writes and lectures about: improvising as an essential operating principle; cultivating resourcefulness and your inner artist; design, style, and food; and anything that is cost-effective, resourceful, and outside the box.

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