Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Boiled Peanuts: a Southern snack

About a year ago I came across Garden and Gun magazine when a client of mine wanted to look into advertising with this publication, and now it is my latest obsession. Keep reading before you jump to conclusions about my recreational interests and hobbies. I realize with a name like Garden and Gun, you may think this is right up there with Ducks Unlimited, Bass Pro Shop and Larry the Cable Guy; but au contraire my dear readers. This magazine embodies everything that is the classic charm and tradition of Southern culture. In fact, I bought Stewart a subscription to Garden and Gun as a birthday gift this year, and I confess that it’s as much of a gift for me as it is for him. Every other month, this perfect bound publication arrives in my mail box and lures me into a world of truffle hunting dogs, guides to oysters and Kentucky bourbons, and Southern dream towns. Did I mention that the photography is beautiful? If you want to see more, check out their web site. You’ll get a feel for the real South.

In the latest issue (April/May 2010) I came across an article called “The Southern Invasion of NYC”. It talked about how Southern culture has never been more popular in the Big Apple thanks to a new generation of chefs, designers, musicians and entrepreneurs. Apparently one of my favorite snacks as a kid is now taking NYC by storm. It’s the boiled peanut. Boiled peanuts are the best! Leave it up to Southerners to cook foods in the most original of ways. Case in point: the fried pickles I made in one of my very first blog posts. But I grew up on boiled peanuts. My grandpa used to make big pots full in the summer. When you open the shell, they’re soft and packed with salty flavor.

Humbly I admit, this being my first attempt to boil peanuts, mine did not turn out as soft as my grandpa’s. To my defense, the grocery stores in Memphis don’t carry raw “green” peanuts; they only sold roasted peanuts which have already been cooked. Therein lies the difference. Mine still had great flavor and were pretty soft on the inside, but you don’t want any crunch to these peanuts when they’re done. If you’re sitting around this Thursday night and looking for a tasty Southern snack to accompany that bottle of Sam Adams Summer Ale, I recommend you kick back with an ice cold brew and wait for these babies to boil. It will take about 3-4 hours, so consider yourself warned that you need time and patience on your side.

Everyone’s recommendations for how much salt and water to use will vary; but you can see my suggestion below for measurements.

This evening is Harry Potter night! About once a month, my friend Shelby and I curl up on the couch and watch Harry, Ron and Hermione take on the dark Lord Voldemort. She brings the wine, and I make the dinner. Good times. Tonight’s feature presentation will be Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. And we’re having Muddy’s cupcakes for dessert! I’m a happy girl who will assuredly be in a sugar coma around 10 p.m. tonight.

As a compliment to my eats, I needed a beat that was a song of the South. Here is The Doobie Brothers' “Black Water".

Go nuts tonight with these eats!

Boiled peanuts:

As previously mentioned, there are various recommendations for how much salt and water to use, so make adjustments where needed. Keep pulling out one or two each hour to taste test. You want to make sure they are soft, not crunchy at all on the inside but still hold its shape.

2lbs of raw peanuts
1 Cup of kosher salt
(I started with ½ cup and then added more salt as needed)

Rinse off the peanuts and place them in a large stock pot; completely cover with water and add the salt. Cover and bring to a boil and then simmer for about 3 hours or until the peanuts are soft. If they are still slightly crunchy, they are not done. If they are not salty enough, leave them in the salted water and turn off the heat. When they are done, drain and serve immediately. You can refrigerate these for a couple of days.

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