How many of you like Pistachios? They are such an instant gratifying crunchy snack. I like it when I can pull the nut meat out of its salty shell and pop into my mouth…soon I have had 1/2 a bag! It is probably my favorite tree nut.
On Aegina Island in Greece- the pistachio is one of its largest and celebrated crop. Anyone up for a Pistachio festival? There is this time-honored fair in Aegina Island celebrating pistachio cultivation, artisans and honoring saints. I’m in! If you are lucky enough to get a pistachio from this island let me know where. I would love to hear your story.
Just a bit of Pistachio history: it was unknown where the nut came from but a group of Russian botanists traveling in the early 20th century in Central Asia located a vast expanse of wild pistachio trees growing. It is now believed that from there the wild trees spread over into Northern Iraq, Northern Iran, Northern Afghanistan, Northern Turkmenistan, Eastern Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and into Kyrgyzstan. You can be sure, I will be making a few dishes with pistachios.
Here is one recipe that you can do in about 15 minutes.
Sesame Pistachio Snack (makes about 20)~Food From Many Greek Kitchens-Tessa Kiros
3/4 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, broken in half
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup mild runny honey
Put the sesame seeds and pistachios into a non-stick skillet and toast lightly over low heat to color them. Add the sugar to the skillet and cook, without stirring, over low heat until it melts and becomes lightly golden. Standing back, add the honey. Stir in the sesame seeds and pistachios and mix while you can, as it will be sticky and thick.
Scrape out onto a flat, heat-proof surface such as a marble or a plastic sheet, or even a large flat plate. Flatten it a bit with the back of a spoon, then use your hands dipped in cold water to form a rectangular shape. Use a rolling pin to level the surface and stretch the rectangle to roughly 6 x 7 inches and 1/4 inch thick. Wait a few minutes, then cut into 1 1/4-inch squares (rectangles). If you leave it standing for too long, it will become too hard to cut.