Sicilian police have a particular brief for next autumn: guarding pistachio trees. The island is home to the gold dust of the nut world, the greenest and most expensive Bronte pistachios. A kilo of them, unshelled, costs almost £15, twice as much as any old ordinary pistachios so come harvest time so much of the crop used to be stolen that the farmers – or rather the trees - now receive police protection. Isn’t it quite wonderful?
And it doesn’t surprise me because I love the green kernels. Not so sure if I’ve ever tried the Sicilian ones but either way they are my favourite nuts. And they aren’t even nuts but stone fruit actually, together with almonds, pecans, cashews and coconuts. Fine – whatever they are, here’s a handful of pistachio recipes if you are a fan like me.
First off, of course, something from Sicily: Sicilian pistachio cookies, gorgeous. If you’d rather cake, try the pistachio and lime loaf cake. Or how about maple and pistachio shortbread bars? The ideal mid-morning pick-me-up treats.
But since you’re looking to find mainly dinner suggestions here, add some chopped salted pistachios to the Arbroath smokie salad bowl and/or swap peanuts in the kung pao chicken for the greenies.
On the green subject, we’re still eating asparagus, in pasta with lemon sauce for example. And we’re by no means discarding new beetroot leaves – they will make a fantastic beet leaf tart topping.
If you’re firing up barbecue this weekend, perhaps you’ll try veal T-bone steaks, nicely different from the burgers and the sausages? Have a look at my barbecue ideas page too; it has the only recipe you might need for the whole grilling season.
I’d like to have grilled balsamic bream one night this week, for sure, with lemon potato wedges. Or cook some Mexican rice to stuff into soft tortillas with ripe avocado and baked beans. And if it’s big meat you fancy, new season shoulder of lamb will hit the spot. With a refreshing radish, cucumber and herb salad on the side.
And don’t forget to make some summer fruit compote for a week of breakfast bowls with toasted crunchy oats! And subscribe to the newsletter – ice cream special coming soon!