- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2006

How did “peanuts” come to mean “penury”? People say they’ll work for peanuts. Or, this time of the year, they live on peanuts until they pay their taxes.

Despite being modestly priced, especially when compared with macadamia nuts, peanuts have a buttery flavor and lively crunch that enhances many simple foods. Add peanuts to a plain salad or pasta recipe, and you’ve got a memorable dish.

You can choose from raw, dry-roasted or salted and roasted peanuts to use in savory recipes. To my taste, roasted and salted peanuts are the best. The rich flavor that comes from roasting is part of the peanut’s allure. Compensate for the salted peanuts by reducing salt elsewhere.

Peanut and potato salad

4 small-medium fingerling potatoes

Salt

Water

1 scallion, trimmed and chopped

1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/4 cup corn kernels (see Note)

3 tablespoons salted peanuts

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Lime dressing (recipe follows)

Place potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Drain well. Slice potatoes into a bowl. Add scallion, bell pepper, corn, peanuts and cilantro. Toss gently but well. Immediately prepare lime dressing and pour over warm salad. Toss again. Adjust salt to taste, if necessary. Makes 2 servings.

Note: Use canned or frozen and thawed corn for this recipe.

LIME DRESSING

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

Combine lime juice, oil, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste in a cup. Stir well.

Blue cheese burgers

10 ounces ground round

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese

Salt

2 buns, optional

Combine ground round, Worcestershire, pepper and blue cheese in a bowl. Mix gently but well. Salt a heavy-bottomed cast-iron skillet and heat over medium-high heat.

Shape ground round into 2 patties. Add to skillet and brown 4 minutes per side. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until a meat thermometer inserted registers 160 degrees. Serve on buns, if desired. Makes 2 servings.

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