Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.
I’m thinking about joining a support group for filbert lovers. Some of us who love that nut just can’t seem to find them – and when we ask for them it’s always, “Do you mean filbert or hazelnut?” We respond, “Yes,” and we’re off and running.
I have tried all the usual suspects/grocery stores and have come up empty-handed. So if anyone out there knows where to find either of them, email me. I had to go online and wait 3 days to get them.
For the record, a filbert is almost a hazelnut and vice versa. They’re variation of the same nut (sort of like a twin but not quite) with a slight difference in shape, flavor and size – but not enough for it to really make a difference. Filberts are usually packaged ground and hazelnuts, which are prettier, are the ones you’ll typically find whole or chopped.
The name filbert is actually the “correct” name for the tree and nut. The the tree was likely first brought to America by French settlers and it was the English settlers who renamed it the hazelnut (oh those wacky English settlers, always changing names). For the purposes of this column we’re going to use hazelnut, as that’s the name most often used these days.
My advice is to buy your hazelnuts already shelled. They are a pain to crack and peel yourself. They have a papery like skin that adheres to the nut before its roasted and most people like to remove it beforehand (but you don’t have to).
You should spread your shelled hazelnuts in a single layer on a dry cookie sheet with sides. Bake at 275 for about 15 minutes until the skins begin to break (shake the pan a little after 10 minutes). Let them cool for about 5 to 7 minutes. Then place them in a clean towel and roll them back and forth until the skins start to come off. You may not get all the skin off, but that’s OK; they taste delicious either way.
Just know that if all your filbert/hazelnut search efforts fail and you just gotta bake [fill in recipe here] right now, you can always use macadamia nuts in a pinch.
1 pound hazelnuts in shell = 1-1/2 cups nuts. 1 pound shelled hazelnuts = 3-1/2 cups. 1 cup shelled = 5 ounces. 4 ounces ground, lightly packed = 3/4 cup. 1 ounce ground, lightly packed = about 3-1/2 tablespoons.
NO-BAKE HAZELNUT DROPS (dairy or pareve)
Servings: 2 dozen
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
3 tablespoons soft butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ozs unsweetened chocolate (squares melted and cooled)
6 ozs kosher mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spread the chopped nuts on baking sheet with sides and roast until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt. Beat until very light and fluffy and then slowly blend in chocolate.
2. In another bowl, combine the marshmallows and hazelnuts and then, by hand, fold the nut and marshmallows into the chocolate mixture. Scoop a heaping teaspoon into the bowl with the toasted coconut and roll the mixture to form a ball, making sure it’s covered with the toasted coconut. Place the ball on waxed paper and repeat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Submitted by Olive Simons of Chicago, IL.
ORANGE AND HAZELNUT CHICKEN (meat)
4 bone-in skinless chicken breasts
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten, with a teaspoon of water in a bowl
3 tablespoons margarine
2 large oranges, peeled and chopped
1 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups rice or almond milk
2 to 3 tablespoons white wine
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon marjoram
1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9X13 casserole dish and set it aside.
2. In a saucepan, combine the orange pieces, orange juice, almond or rice milk, wine, thyme and marjoram. Cook over a low heat, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens. Set aside. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and nuts and set aside.
3. Dip the chicken in the egg and water mixture and then coat it with the bread crumb mixture. Melt the margarine in a skillet and lightly brown the chicken on both sides, approximately 3 minutes on each side. Put the chicken in the prepared pan and pour the sauce over the top. Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes until the chicken is done.
Modified from about.com.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND HAZELNUT LASAGNE (dairy)
This recipe – from the now-defunct Gourmet Magazine – takes a little bit of time and work, but it’s so worth it.
Servings: 6 – 8
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 cup hazelnuts (4 oz), toasted, loose skins rubbed off with a kitchen towel, and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons flour
5 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 lb mozzarella, coarsely grated (2 cups)
1 cup grated Parmesan (3 oz)
12 lasagna noodles (1/2 lb)
1. Filling: Cook onion in butter in a skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the squash, garlic, salt, and white pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, sage, and nuts. Cool filling.
2. Make sauce while squash cooks: Cook garlic in butter in a saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook roux (equal parts fat -butter or margarine- flour and a liquid – milk, water, broth), whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk in a stream, whisking. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes. Whisk in salt and white pepper and remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. (Cover surface of sauce with wax paper if not using immediately.)
3. Assemble lasagna: Preheat oven to 425. Toss cheeses together. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in a buttered 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass baking dish (or other shallow 3-quart baking dish) and cover with 3 pasta sheets, leaving spaces between sheets. Spread with 2/3 cup sauce and one third of filling, and then sprinkle with a heaping 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layering 2 more times, beginning with pasta sheets and ending with cheese. Top with remaining 3 pasta sheets, remaining sauce, and remaining cheese.
4. Tightly cover baking dish with buttered foil and bake lasagna in middle of oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until golden and bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let lasagna stand 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Modified from Gourmet, 2001.
COCOA HAZELNUT COOKIES (dairy or pareve)
I use a mini ice cream scoop to form these cookies. If you don’t have one, invest now: they’re perfect for getting the right amount of dough for each cookie.
Servings: 4 – 5 dozen
2 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa (yes, it needs to be this kind of cocoa)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts,
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, hazelnuts, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and the chocolate chips and beat just until combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 325. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (you can grease the pans if you prefer). Place a cup or two of powdered sugar in a bowl. Scoop a tablespoon of dough into a ball. Roll the cookie in the powdered sugar to coat completely. Continue to scoop and coat the dough and place them 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass or spatula. Repeat until there’s no more dough left.
3. Bake 4 minutes and then rotate the pan (back to front) and continue cooking an additional 6 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 3 minutes before taking them off the cookie sheet. Do not let them over bake; its best if they’re a little under done when you take them out and then let them finish setting up while they cool on the cookie sheet. When set enough to remove from the cookie sheet, place the cookies on a cooling rack. When totally cool dust with additional powdered sugar.
From my files, source unknown.
HAZELNUT SALMON SALAD WITH RASPERRIES (fish)
3/4 cup fresh raspberries (about 3 1/2 ounces)
3 tablespoons rice wine or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup oil
3 to 6 teaspoons water
1 cup raspberries for garnish
1 cup chopped hazelnuts (about 4 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup panko or plain dried breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1/3 cup honey mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 large skinless salmon filets (about 2 lbs)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons oil
4 cups salad greens
1 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts
1. In a food processor, combine the raspberries, vinegar, and sugar and process until smooth. With processor running, gradually add the oil and water by teaspoonfuls as needed (add more water if the sauce is too thick). Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375. Mix hazelnuts, panko, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper in shallow bowl and set aside. In another bowl, place the honey mustard, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and remaining salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
3. Rinse the salmon and pat it dry. Dip it in the honey mustard mayonnaise mixture and then dip the wet pieces into the nut mixture. Make sure both sides are coated by pressing the mixture into the salmon. Place the salmon on plate.
4. In a large skillet melt the butter and add the oil. Add the salmon to the skillet and cook until light brown, and then flip (about 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness). Place the salmon on a cookie sheet and keep warm (or let cool and refrigerate; you can serve this cold, but I prefer it hot) until ready to serve.
5. Divide salad between 4 plates; top with salmon. Garnish with fresh raspberries and toasted hazelnuts and drizzle the raspberry sauce on top.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen.