Hazelnuts, also known as filberts, are grown right here in the Pacific Northwest! Did you know that 99% of the hazelnuts grown in the United States are grown in Oregon alone!
Hazelnuts are a pretty healthy nut as well! They have very low saturated fat and a ton of protein, fiber, iron and complex carbohydrates. Also, just like all tree nuts, they do not contain any cholesterol.
Many recipes call for roasted hazelnuts – don’t let that stop you, it’s pretty easy. You just have to know the tricks!
Place them on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven and toast for about six to eight minutes – Keep your eye on them and set a timer! As soon as you can smell their nutty aroma, they’re done! They’ll keep cooking once they’re off the heat, so it’s easy to overdo it.
When the nuts are cool enough to handle, put them in a clean dish towel, and rub as much of the skin off as can.
They not only add great flavor to recipes but also texture and crunch. Both those things come through in my recipe for Cheddar Ale Spread. Made with lots of other NW ingredients like Tillamook Cheddar Cheese and local beer – it’s perfect for parties!
Sprinkled on a salad, tossed in baked goods or just eaten out of hand – Hazelnuts are d’lish any way you enjoy them. -Kathy
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.
Cheddar Ale Spread
The spread can be kept refrigerated for up to 4 days. Bring it to room temperature about 1 hour before serving.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
8 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, such as Tillamook
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flavorful Northwest beer
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped (optional)
Overnight Semolina Flat Bread (recipe follows), crackers, or crostini
Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnishing
Combine the cream cheese, mustard, Cheddar, half-and-half, Tabasco, and salt in a food processor. Process for about 30 seconds, add the beer, and continue processing until very smooth. Pulse in the parsley and hazelnuts until just dispersed.
Serve in a nice-looking container with the flat bread attractively broken up around it. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.
Overnight Rosemary Semolina Flat Bread
For even baking, rotate the pans in the oven and switch them from upper to lower racks midway through baking.
Makes 8 large pieces before being broken up
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (110°F), plus more if needed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons very finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup semolina
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for topping
In a large bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and 1 cup of water. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Let sit for 10 minutes until foamy.
In a medium bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups of flour, the rosemary, semolina, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture, stirring with a large spoon to combine. Then, using clean hands and working in the bowl, mix until the dough comes together. If needed, add another 2 tablespoons warm water and continue mixing dough into a ball.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 4 to 5 minutes.
Drizzle the bowl with 1/2 teaspoon oil and return the dough ball to the bowl, turning the dough to coat well with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 24 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat an oven to 425°F. Meanwhile, cut the dough into 8 wedges, then cover with a damp towel and let sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each wedge into a 5-by-10-inch rectangle. Brush or drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt to taste. Arrange on ungreased baking sheets and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden and crispy but not overbrowned.
Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.