Post by Alison Hein.
I got carried away as I was grinding pistachios yesterday. The rich, salty crunch of these exotic little nuts is so divine, I can easily gobble up a whole package of them in one sitting. Instead, I try to pace myself, by distributing them more rationally, and combining them with complementary flavors.
Step one – grind. Step two – coat the delectable morsel of your choice with a delectable pistachio covering. In this case, I was using the ground nuts to dress up some goat cheese medallions, which I then placed on top of a salad of baby lettuces bathed in a tangy lemon citrus vinaigrette.
Pistachios are an ancient food. Originating in the eastern Mediterranean and central Asia, they are one of the three seeds (along with walnuts and almonds) mentioned in the Bible. Pliny the elder wrote that pistachios were a common food as early as 6750 BC. These days, the US is one of the top global producers of pistachio nuts.
Search the internet and you’ll find a cornucopia of “pistachio-crusted” recipes. From lamb to salmon, asparagus to tofu, cheesecake to, you guessed it…French toast! So, I drowned some soft brioche in a vanilla egg bath, then used my excess ground nuts to create a divine Pistachio-Crusted French Toast, and a salty, crunchy, exotic breakfast in bed.
1 cup pistachio nuts
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 slices rich, soft bread, such as brioche or challah
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
Grind pistachio nuts in a nut grinder, coffee mill, or blender until chopped finely, but not powdery. Retain some larger nut pieces for extra crunch, if you like. Place ground pistachios in a small shallow dish.
In large, shallow bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Stir in vanilla. Dip bread slices into the milk mixture, turning once to completely saturate. Don’t over soak or the soft bread will fall apart. Dip bread slices in chopped pistachio pieces, using a spoon to help cover.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in heavy skillet. Add nut-covered bread slices and cook over medium to medium-low heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add more butter as needed. Remove from pan and serve warm with real maple syrup.
Makes 4 servings.