Whether you chalk it up to the massive boom in domestic production, a slick ad campaign employing mouthpieces like Snooki and the honey badger, or the pervasive good-fats mantra, pistachios have progressed beyond familiar turf (gelato, cannoli, mortadella) and into dishes you wouldn’t expect. Guacamole, for one. While working on a version for his new Empellón Cocina, Alex Stupak took note of the visual parallels between the pistachio and the avocado—vivid green outside, olive-y yellow within—and doctored his standard recipe with roasted Bazzini pistachios and pressure-cooked Sicilian ones, then added a pistachio salsa loosely based on a Oaxacan mole. ABC Kitchen’s Dan Kluger strews them over diver scallops with chile and mint, swaps them for walnuts in his Waldorf salad, and grinds them into chicken-pork sausages. Pesto-topped pizza is not new. But pistachio-pesto pizza with crumbled sausage sure is. It’s one of the most popular pies at Don Antonio by Starita, according to partner Roberto Caporuscio, a pizzaiolo happily unencumbered by pizza-police strictures. The versatile nut has even been embraced by cocktail geeks at places like Booker and Dax, where Dave Arnold and crew use a high-tech emulsified pistachio syrup (a riff on the almond-based orgeat) to sweeten the Mustachi-ode, a bourbon-Becherovka-amaro-and-lemon concoction. And over at Minetta Tavern, the Pistachio de la Rosa is an invigorating mixture of tequila, Grand Marnier, lime, and housemade pistachio syrup. It’s served in a rocks glass with a pulverized-pistachio-coated rim, and, come to think of it, would go very nicely with Stupak’s guacamole.
Empellón Cocina 105 First Ave., nr. 6th St.; 212-780-0999; ABC Kitchen 35 E. 18th St., nr. Broadway; 212-475-5829; Don Antonio by Starita 309 W. 50th St., nr. Eighth Ave.; 646-719-1043; Booker and Dax 207 Second Ave., at 13th St.; 212-254-3500; Minetta Tavern 113 Macdougal St., at Minetta Ln.; 212-475-3850.