7 quick ways with PISTACHIOS

by Chris Halpin

2019 May/Jun

Although we all call pistachios a nut, they are actually a seed from a plum-like fruit that grows in clusters, like large grapes – but on trees. Having said this, I will continue to refer to them as nuts and one of my favourites. They are native to the Middle East and recent finds suggest that they were cultivated as early as 7000 B.C. in Turkey.

Pistachios chèvre grapes

These are one of my “go to” hors d’oeuvres, I have been making these for years. They are perfect with a glass of wine, any glass of wine! In a bowl put 1 small tube of soft goat cheese, approximately ½ c., a pinch of ground coriander and of white pepper, and mix well. In another bowl put ½ c. chopped pistachios. Using 12 or so grapes, take 1 grape and about 1 T. chèvre mixture and evenly coat the grape, then roll in the chopped pistachios. Repeat until you have used all the cheese, arrange on a platter and serve.
Makes about 12.

City Palate, guide to the good life in Calgary - quick ways with - 2019-05-06 - Pistachios chèvre grapes

Quinoa tabouli with pistachios and kalamata

This recipe is so nutrient dense and so satisfying. Great on its own or wonderful as a side with fish and the like. Into a bowl put 3 c. cooked quinoa, 1 c. finely chopped parsley, ½ c. finely chopped mint, 2 green onions, sliced, ½ c. chopped kalamata olives, ½ c. roughly chopped pistachios, ¼ c. olive oil, juice of 1 lemon and salt to taste, mix well and serve. Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side.

City Palate, guide to the good life in Calgary - quick ways with - 2019-05-06 - Quinoa tabouli with pistachios and kalamata

Seared striploin with pistachio Stilton butter

This is a fun twist on an old classic. In a bowl put ½ c. soft butter, ½ c. Stilton cheese and ½ c. finely chopped pistachios, 1 garlic clove, finely minced and 1 t. black pepper. With a fork mash and mix. Spoon out onto a piece of parchment and roll into a 1-inch tube that is about 6 inches long. Twist the ends and refrigerate for  about an hour. Salt and pepper 2 striploins. Place a skillet over high heat and allow it get very hot before adding 2 T. canola and 1 T. butter, sear to preferred  doneness. On two plates, arrange some arugula and a steak onto each with a coin of the compound butter that is about ½-inch thick, before serving. Make 1-1/2 c. of compound butter and it will keep in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

City Palate, guide to the good life in Calgary - quick ways with - 2019-05-06 - Seared striploin with pistachio Stilton butter

Pistachio and tarragon crusted lamb rack

The pistachios and tarragon are perfect counterpoint to the lamb. Preheat your oven to 450°F. In a blender or food processor, put ½ c. pistachios, ¼ c. lightly packed tarragon leaves, 1 shallot, rough chopped, and pulse until fine, but not pasty. Add this to a bowl with ½ c. panko breadcrumbs, ¼ c. white wine, 1 t. salt, ½ t. Sriracha and mix well. Generously pack the mixture on top of the fat cap and roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is well browned and the lamb is done to your liking. Remove and let rest for a couple of minutes before serving. Serves 2.

City Palate, guide to the good life in Calgary - quick ways with - 2019-05-06 - Pistachio and tarragon crusted lamb rack

Pistachio and Chinese 5-spice chicken wings

Chicken wings are a guilty pleasure of mine. I like to use the whole wing that I turn the tip back and fold it into a triangle. Half the price and twice the chicken!  Preheat your oven to 450°F. Arrange 12 whole wings or 24 split wings on a baking sheet, salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until they have started to brown and get crispy. Remove from the oven, place in a bowl with ¼ honey and 1 T. Chinese 5-spice, mix to evenly coat and sprinkle with about ½ c. chopped pistachios and return to the oven for another 5 minutes before serving. Serves 2 to 4 people.

City Palate, guide to the good life in Calgary - quick ways with - 2019-05-06 - Pistachio and Chinese 5-spice chicken wings

Linguine with pistachio, green onion, pesto

The creamy qualities of pistachios are highlighted in this recipe. So simple and remarkably satisfying. In a large pot with rapidly boiling water, boil your pasta to your preferred doneness. While that is happening, make the pesto. In a food processor or blender put ½ c. pistachios, ½ c. chopped green onions, ½ c. chopped parsley, ½ c. parmesan, 1 dash fish sauce, 1 c. olive oil, ½ t. black pepper and salt to taste, pulse to a rustic finish. Drain pasta, roll with an amount of pesto to your liking. Arrange on plates and finish with more parmesan and pepper. The remaining pesto will keep in the fridge for about 6 days. Try it on a sandwich or roll with salad fixings and a dash of cider vinegar. Makes about 2 cups.

City Palate, guide to the good life in Calgary - quick ways with - 2019-05-06 - Linguine with pistachio, green onion, pesto

Pistachio baklava

The creamy qualities of pistachios are highlighted in this recipe. So simple and remarkably satisfying. In a large pot with rapidly boiling water, boil your pasta to your preferred doneness. While that is happening, make the pesto. In a food processor or blender put ½ c. pistachios, ½ c. chopped green onions, ½ c. chopped parsley, ½ c. parmesan, 1 dash fish sauce, 1 c. olive oil, ½ t. black pepper and salt to taste, pulse to a rustic finish. Drain pasta, roll with an amount of pesto to your liking. Arrange on plates and finish with more parmesan and pepper. The remaining pesto will keep in the fridge for about 6 days. Try it on a sandwich or roll with salad fixings and a dash of cider vinegar. Makes about 2 cups.

City Palate, guide to the good life in Calgary - quick ways with - 2019-05-06 - Pistachio baklava

Chris Halpin has been teaching Calgarians to make fast, fun urban food since 1997 and is the owner of Manna Catering Service. mannaonline.com. Recipe photos by Chris Halpin.