Sunday, October 26, 2008
One of Mr. TA's (I'm shortening it, Totally Awesome is just way too long for someone as lazy as me) favorite snack foods when he was a child was boiled peanuts. He often tells me stories about how he and his dad would get boiled peanuts from roadside stands in Florida. He's asked before if I would make them for him, but I thought it was going to be some long, arduous process that involved some crazy Southern secret ingredients. It turns out it's pretty much as easy as it sounds, boiling peanuts. Mr. TA said the people at the stands would sometimes have different flavors, curry, spicy, Cajun, etc. I haven't quite gotten that far yet, but I bet boiling them in some Tony Chachere's seasoning would be pretty bad ass. That stuff tastes great on just about anything.
Mr. TA likes to eat his peanuts just as they are - crack open the shell and suck the mushy peanut out - but I guess it's a pretty traditional Southern habit to pop the peanuts into a bottle of cola and chug 'em down together. I'm assuming there's some chewing of the peanuts involved in there somewhere. I was introduced to this crazy custom by my mother's husband, C. C's from Texas originally and has all sorts of interesting habits. C and I were headed somewhere on some road trip to do something (there are too many occasions similar to this to pinpoint exactly what we were all doing) and stopped at a gas station to get fuel and snacks. He bought a packet of salted peanuts and a bottle of Coke and proceeded to empty the peanuts into the Coke bottle. I thought he was a friggin' crazy person. Who the hell does that? Puts peanuts in Coke. That's just weird.
But, I was recently reading "Pig Perfect" by Peter Kaminsky and he also related the Southern custom of putting peanuts in cola. So I suppose it's not quite as crazy as I thought...
C made me try it before I nay-sayed it too badly, and it's really pretty good. Not something I'd go out of my way to try again, but I wouldn't kick Coke and peanuts outta bed for eatin' crackers, know what I mean?
It's extremely easy to make, and if you've got a Southern boy, or an East Coast man with Southern roots like Mr. TA, then these are really too convenient to not make for them.
Just make sure you drink lots of water. My god, what is with Southerners and adding unhealthy amounts of everything bad for you to every single recipe they make? There's enough sodium in these bad boys to bloat you up like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.
Makes 1 lb.
1 lb. raw (green/young) peanuts
1/2 cup kosher salt
6 quarts water
Boil the peanuts and salt in the water for about 3 hours, or until peanuts are soft all the way through. Pull one out, let it cool, peel it, and try the peanut after about 2 hours. Repeat every 15 minutes until peanuts are all tender.
These must be eaten same day, if not they'll get all slimy and smelly. If desired you can reserve the cooking liquid and keep the peanuts in the liquid in a jar in the refrigerator for no more than three days.