A list of Oregon’s quintessential flavors wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a fall favorite: Hazelnuts (or filberts, as the locals like to call them). Like pears, hazelnuts are suited particularly well to grow in Oregon’s heavily seasonal climate—and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Gorgeous orchards of these tiny nuggets of goodness line the Willamette Valley and their bounty is harvested every fall for our enjoyment. Around this time each year hazelnuts begin to pop up in recipes all over, sweet and savory alike. There’s just something about a touch of hazelnut that says, “holidays.”
Most things we add to the holiday menu don’t exactly have a reputation for healthiness, but this time we’re in luck. In addition to their delightful taste, hazelnuts are also quite nutritious. Filled with monounsaturated fats, fiber, magnesium and valuable B and E vitamins, hazelnuts add a dash of nutrition to the decadent desserts we sprinkle them on and make a fantastic on-the-go snack during the hectic holidays.
Another selling point for the mighty hazelnut? Versatility. They can play the starring role (try a hazelnut stuffing with your Thanksgiving Turkey this year—your guests won’t be disappointed!) or provide rich support for other ingredients, as they do in the Chiffonade of Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Hazelnuts on page 24 of the holiday issue of Indulge Magazine.
Some other fun ways to infuse your holiday fare with hazelnuts:
- Toast with a dash of olive oil and herbs (rosemary and/or thyme are heavenly), chop and sprinkle over salads.
- Toast, chop and substitute for almonds or other nuts in cookie and brownie recipes.
- Use hazelnuts instead of pine nuts for an incredibly tasty variation on classic pesto. Just toast and then chop the hazelnuts in a food processor. Add basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic and salt + pepper to taste. Pulse until the mixture reaches the desired consistency and enjoy!
From our table to yours—Happy eating during this year’s holiday season!