Monday, April 26, 2010

Boiled Peanuts

Are Boiled Peanuts the new trend in snack food in New York City? It seems that they become increasingly popular in certain bars and cafes in the city, mainly as a snack food or paired with alcohol. Currently you can get them at Bao Haus which name them  "Country Caviar"- the Taiwanese eatery in Lower Easter Side, at the Rye House in Flatiron area and at the very famous Breslin restaurant in the Ace Hotel.

I am a great fan of peanuts in all shapes and forms: salted, unsalted, raw, toasted, with honey, coated with chocolate, spiced with herbs or chilies - you name them. When I decided to try the boiled peanuts, I didn't have any expectations. I couldn't imagine how they would taste or how they would look. So, my adventure started when I sat at Bao Haus bar and got a bowl with peanuts and a small cup for the shells. So, they are served warm, are salty and in their shell. All you have to do is to open the shell and eat them. The experience was "interesting", so was the taste. I found the entire bowl rather large to finish all by myself but I accomplished the task successfully.

So, for your information boiled peanuts are simply raw peanuts boiled in salty water for a long time. They are a common snack in the states of South Carolina, Georgia, northern Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and to a lesser extent, North Carolina and Virginia. Boiled peanuts (and similarly boiled soybeans) also exist in other cultures around the globe, throughout Asia and Western Africa. Boiled peanuts are boiled in the shell and are consumed, still wet, by cracking open the softened shell and slurping down the contents along with the brine.

So, pick a New York and give them a go. If you can't get enough, check out the site of the Lee brothers for recipes and to order the specialty from Carolina: It was actually Ted Lee who tipped me about the new "trend" and the locations I can find them in the Big Apple.

But I will disappoint him. Although "interesting", they won't make my must-eat list. I'd rather go for the real caviar or just roasted peanuts instead.