I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with hazelnuts.
Well, mostly hate.
OK, pure hate.
It’s been frustrating watching hordes of people dunking spoons or fingers in Nutella jars, licking the innards of a Ferrero Rocher, snapping big bars of chocolate jewelled with the offensive little fuckers for all these years.
I felt left out whilst staring from the side lines; desperately trying to understand how people could possibly enjoy them.
To be fair, I wasn’t a big fan of nuts (cue inappropriate jokes – Go on, I know you want to) up until a few years ago and hazelnuts are my last hurdle.
I have to find a way to eat them. HAVE TO.
It’s a question of principle now.
And so I buy a little bag of hazelnuts in the local store; a mere 100 grams to see what happens.
I inspect them gingerly, get them out of the bag, smell them (Nope. No smelling, Carla, this ain’t gonna help), halve a handful and put them in with stir-fried brussel sprouts for Christmas dinner.
Brave, but I could always pick them out.
And I don’t; I actually eat them all and enjoy the dish.
Maybe I do like hazelnuts after all.
And then I put them in a salad.
I didn’t have pine nuts, nor almonds or pecans which are my nuts of choice for big salads.
So I put another handful of hazelnuts in, because why the hell not (and I don’t like buying bags of stuff when I already have something relatively similar in the cupboard already)
This time I don’t like them.
I leave them all on the side of the plate.
Looking at me forlorn.
But I don’t give up.
There’s still one more handful in that bag and by God I’m going to give it one more try.
I decide to make a winter slaw like the one here.
Only I don’t have cabbage, nor fennel or almonds.
I have Brussels sprouts and shallots and hazelnuts.
And so I make the slaw with a dressing following the original and base ingredients courtesy of my cupboard.
And I liked the hazelnuts again.
In fact, I think the recipe would not have worked without the hazelnuts.
Conclusion: hazelnuts are to be eaten solely with Brussels sprouts.
Other variations are not currently accepted.
Winter Slaw (Adapted from Honest Fare) Serves 4
300gr Brussels sprouts
2 small shallots finely sliced
50gr hazelnuts roughly chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
½ cup Natural Yoghurt
1tsp poppy seeds
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste (I used white pepper)
A splash of cider vinegar
A splash of water
Blanche the sprouts in a pot of boiling water – 5 minutes.
Drain, run under cold water and let cool on kitchen towel for about half an hour.
In the meanwhile make the dressing by mixing garlic, yoghurt, poppy seeds, honey, lemon, vinegar, water, salt and pepper.
Whisk nicely and put to one side.
Put the shallots and hazelnuts in a big serving bowl.
Now, if you are a normal kitchen person you’ll have a mandolin which you can use to slice your sprouts very thinly.
If you are like me you will use a cheese grater on the big holes side and finish off the leaves that are more reluctant to let themselves be grated by mincing them with a knife.
Put the grated sprouts in the bowl with the shallots and hazelnuts, pour the dressing over it.
Mix with your hands. Don’t be prissy.
It tastes better the next day.Despite the hazelnuts.