One thing I wasn’t expecting to find at the markets here were fresh peanuts. I know that there are a few areas on this side of the U.S. where they are grown, but I was definitely closer to the peanut growing states of Virginia and Georgia when we lived in Kentucky.
Yet, I can’t remember ever coming across a fresh peanut. But then again, I wasn’t looking for them either.
When I saw the light blond shells piled up on the tables at the market, I knew right away that they were peanuts. It took me longer to figure out that they were fresh. (Often called, green peanuts.)
Never one to resist the urge to buy a new ingredient, I bagged up a few handfuls still speckled with the dirt and brought them home. Honestly, I had no idea what else to do except boil them.
After researching several recipes, I made my first batch which was a huge fail. According to a few recommendations, I soaked them in water first, drained them and then boiled them. They were much too wet and soggy for my taste.
So when I picked up another bagful last week, I skipped the extra soaking step. I covered the 1 pound of peanuts in about 5 cups of water. I added salt, garlic powder and smoked hot paprika and let them boil.
Full disclosure. I forgot about them.
I had intended to boil them for 2 hours, but I returned to the stove about 2 hours and 45 minutes later to find almost no water left in the pan. Oops.
I pulled the pan off the burner and gave them a stir to distribute some of the seasonings that had collected at the bottom. Then, I tried one. They were delicious! They really reminded me more of the pinhão (pine nut) we used to find in Brazil, like a firm bean with a nutty flavor.
So there you have it. I accidentally discovered exactly how I like my boiled peanuts. Sometimes kitchen mistakes lead to grand results. And it’s even better if those mistakes and results come without setting off the fire alarm.
Smoky Boiled PeanutsAbout 1 pound of fresh, green peanuts
5 to 6 cups of water
¼ cup finely ground sea salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp smoked hot paprika
Add the peanuts to a large saucepan and add enough water to cover the nuts. Stir in the sea salt, garlic powder and paprika. Bring the peanuts to a boil over high heat, partially cover the pan with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium to maintain a low boil, just above a simmer.
Let cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours, until almost all of the water has evaporated. There should still be at least a half inch in the bottom of the pan. Stir to distribute the salt. Let cool before shelling and eating. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.