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 Peanuts
About 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.