No more beans. Thank GAWD! Look, beans are…well…okay. I don’t dislike them at all. But when it comes to the food world, beans are Hyundais. Yes, they’re dependable, but they are also lacking in flash. “More substance than style” one might say…if one were prone to cliches.
So I’m moving on. I want to talk about Walnuts, a food so flashy, so high end, that their very name indicates it’s place in the world. Juglans regia is a Latin contraction of Jovis glans meaning regal nut of Jupiter (“Jupiter’s nuts”) or nut of “the Gods”. When you have Gods eating you, you know you’ve hit the big time.
Walnuts were thrown to Roman wedding guests by the groom to bring good health. Unless a walnut hit one in the eye or throat, in which case it was fairly safe to say that the nut was thrown by the groom out of sheer sadism.
Their are 21 species of walnuts, but generally speaking, there are only two that you have to think about when it comes to walnuts:
- Juglans regia L. – Persian Walnut, Common Walnut
- Juglans nigra L. – Black Walnut
The Persian walnut is the one we are all used to. Why? Because the other 20 genuses of walnuts have very thick shells, making the amount of effort required to get the meat of the nut more than the reward of the nut itself.
The exception that proves the rule surrounds the black walnut. Yes its difficult to get the meat of a black walnut. But the taste of the black walnut is exceptional, making a favorite of chefs and bakers everywhere. And that’s where I come in.
I could make several kinds of dishes with walnuts. But really, do you want a recipe for a salad with walnuts, or would you rather have a recipe for banana-walnut cake recipe?
I think the answer it fairly clear.