Finally, science (via the University of California, Davis) has come up with a decent red walnut. Actually, the walnuts have been available at California farmers markets for a couple of years but only made their way to New York specialty food stores this fall. The new nut is a cross between a standard California walnut and a fancy French variety. The shells are tan, and the kernels are a traffic-stopping shade of scarlet. So how do they taste? Well, pretty darn walnutty, which is to say fairly rich and mildly tannic. Still, just imagine what a handful could do to perk up an arugula salad, a cheese plate, some roasted Brussels sprouts, or even this wet-walnut sauce from Brooklyns Ample Hills Creamery. After all, we do eat with our eyes.
Ample Hills Creamerys Wet Walnuts
Preheat oven to 275. (1) Toast the walnuts on a baking sheet in the oven for about 15 minutes. (2) Let the walnuts cool a bit, then chop them into smaller pieces, reserving any powdery nut residue; set aside. (3) In a nonreactive saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients and bring
to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce temperature to a simmer, and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the walnuts and the walnut powder, which acts as an emulsifier. Let the mixture cool and thicken, then spoon liberally over ice cream. Store any remaining wet-walnut sauce in the refrigerator.
*This article originally appeared in the December 3, 2012 issue of New York Magazine.