This is one of those dishes that evolve from a sketchy idea into a delicious meal. I spent some time this morning shelling and lightly roasting wild hickory nuts I had gathered this past fall. Time spent with this tedious task passed quickly listening to Tuba Skinny.
As I was prying the nut meats from the narrow labyrinthine chambers of the tough hickory nut shells I envisioned using them somehow with recently purchased Brussels sprouts. I decided to use the hickory nuts in an orange glaze very much like the one used to glaze tofu and cauliflower in recent meals.
The orange glaze was made in a small stovetop pot by adding, in roughly this order, the following ingredients:
- toasted sesame oil
- star anise
- whole allspice berries
- cardamom pod
- whole clove
- cinnamon stick
- ginger paste
- garlic paste
- frozen orange juice concentrate
- mushroom ketchup
- white balsamic vinegar
- orange zest (preserved in turbinado sugar)
- toasted wild hickory nuts
- corn starch and water slurry
Quartered brussels sprouts and sweet potato chunks were tossed with toasted sesame oil, kosher salt and black pepper, and roasted in a 425ºF oven.
The roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato were then tossed with some of the orange/hickory nut glaze and returned to the oven for a few more minutes of roasting.
Meanwhile I had boiled and peeled potatoes and chopped them into chunks. These were reheated in the microwave oven and topped with shredded cheddar cheese, dehydrated chives and red pepper flakes (no seeds). The cheese topped potatoes were then returned to the microwave oven to melt the cheese. My original vision of the dish didn’t involve cheese in any way, but hey, I was getting hungry.
The orange/hickory nut glazed roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato were served atop the cheesy potatoes. The hickory nut flavor was nuanced and didn’t come through with each bite but every now and then made its unique presence known.