Flavor of a protagonist, but a follower's soul. Toasted, caramelized or minced makes no difference, the hazelnut is suitable for any dish, sweet or savory, in cakes or biscuits, eaten alone or as an accompaniment
Good, nutritious and rich in history: hazelnuts are particularly appreciated for the preparation of desserts and make the happiness of young and old. The diffusion of the core in the European continent it takes place in prehistoric times, about 10 thousand years ago. In the classical period its cultivation in the Mediterranean areas had to be rather widespread, at least giving faith to the numerous hymns and laments of love sung by shepherds and nymphs in the shade of its shrub. In ancient Rome it was also used as a gift hazelnut plants to wish happiness while in France, in the same period, the plant was given to spouses as symbol of fertility.
Hazelnuts from Piedmont to Sicily
The most famous type of hazelnut is obviously the Piedmontese one known as Tonda Gentile delle Langhe: retained, without fear of denials "the best in the world". Widespread especially in the Cunese area, it is characterized by the hardness of the shell, the high peelability and the good yield at shelling. The elective capital of this variety is the municipality of Cortemilia, where, for the past sixty years, the IGP Piedmont Hazelnut Festival. Its cultivation in this area became widespread at the end of the nineteenth century when it almost completely replaced viticulture, which was less profitable and less suited to the climatic and environmental conditions of the land.
But they are also very famous "Tonda di Giffoni", a variety of Campania concentrated mainly in the Salerno area; there "Tonda Gentile Romana", of Lazio; and the "Sicilian" (or Nostrale) produced in abundance in the Messina area.
Toasted and chopped hazelnuts, good for any occasion
The toasted hazelnut is ideal not only in the preparation of cakes is desserts of any kind, but it can also be a good diversion to give flavor to all dishes. Toasting them is quite simple. Shelled hazelnuts they are placed on a baking sheet and put in the oven at 200 ° for about 5-7 minutes, making sure they do not burn. Once the right browning is obtained, they are then kept in the oven for another five minutes. Once pulled out and cooled completely simply rub them in your hands to get the skin off and have them available at your disposal.
Good advice may be to chop them and turn them into a grain. The chopped hazelnut is in fact ideal to give crunchiness to your recipes. It matches with equal ease a first courses, fish and meat. Particularly tasty can be the combination with gorgonzola and spinach for a sauce with an intense and refined taste, at the same time easy and quick to cook. The preparation takes place on two different levels: on one side spinach should be boiled and chopped; on the other hand, gorgonzola cubes should be melted in a bain-marie. Then the cream obtained is added to the cream and – once the mixture has been carefully mixed – the toasted hazelnuts, properly chopped. Finally, the spinach, made to wither with extra virgin olive oil, is mixed with the cream and cooked for a minute over a high flame with the chosen pasta. Recommended pairing with tagliatelle, but the dressing is so tasty that it goes well with any type of pasta.
Caramelized and praline hazelnuts, recipes for happiness
Hazelnuts, water and sugar to mix carefully on a non-stick pan. Three ingredients and about 10 minutes they are enough to have happiness at hand. The only tips are to pay close attention to cooking the sugar, perhaps turning off the heat once it has coagulated, making sure that it condenses around our hazelnuts before finishing cooking. For the sweet tooth in the pralining you can add a few tablespoons of bitter cocoa or you can immerse yourself in the melted chocolate.
Just a small portion of Caramelized hazelnuts (or praline) to make peace with one's childish soul and rediscover that taste nibbled long ago on the street, among the amusement park rides or in a fair, embraced by the unmistakable smell of cotton candy.