Or, in my case the oven! I was at Trader Joe’s and decided to buy a bag of Italian chestnuts. In November my favorite food is persimmon. How did I not blog about that? I will remedy that shortly. December means chestnuts to me. I prefer Korean (Chinese) chestnuts but I had never had Italian ones so I decided to GO FOR IT. They look very similar albeit smaller than their Chinese cousin. I ate one raw and it was not as sweet. In Korea my grandmother would steam the chestnuts or just eat them raw. Being a military brat I was exposed to many different cultures and all the Europeans told me chestnuts MUST be roasted. I like them both ways but chose roasting this time to test out some online “recipes”. Like everything else there are tons of “the best way to” roast videos on Youtube. I watched several and decided I had enough chestnuts to try a variety of options. I cut some with X marks which I had never done, I cut some near the bottom like I always do and to try something new, I listened to an Italian chef and scored the rest of the chestnuts, soaked them in water first and then roasted all three batches in my electric oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. No need to hold you in suspense. You can see by the photos that all three methods did not yield wildly different results. The X was easier to peel because there were 4 corners to grab. It only worked if the X was big enough. The chestnuts I cooked my ordinary way varied as well depending on the size of the cut and the chestnut. On some of the cuts I went too deep. The boiled chestnuts really did nothing amazing except change the taste of the chestnut – it tasted more like the boiled chestnuts instead of the nuttier roasted kind. The best roasted chestnuts I ever had was given to me by a British friend who roasted hers in her charcoal grill. She roasted them, wrapped them in a towel for a few minutes (maybe that steamed them a bit?), rolled them around until all the peel came off and we ate a ton of them together. Anytime I tried her method I ended up burning the nuts to a crisp. What I did learn with my experiment is that it is more important to make sure you have the freshest chestnuts possible. They should be plump and should not make a cracking sound when you squeeze them. Make your cut deep enough for the skin to open but not so deep that the flesh comes apart. I am sorry to say I can not proclaim I found the BEST way to roast these delicious morsels of nature. Perhaps I’ll try again next year.