C hestnut season need not end with the Thanksgiving stuffing. Even if you don’t have an open fire at your disposal, chestnuts roasting on a sheet pan in a 400-degree oven for twenty minutes and gobbled straight from their shells make for a pretty terrific holiday snack. But why stop there? Del Posto pastry chef Brooks Headley recommends steaming the starchy nuggets until they are meltingly soft, then hand-crushing them and seasoning them with citrus zest. The result, spooned over a little sweetened mascarpone, “is like a gremolata, a potato salad, and a dessert all in one,” he says.
Brooks Headley’s Spezzata Di Castagne With Zested Mascarpone
For The Steamed Chestnuts:
1 lb. fresh chestnuts, steamed or boiled in their shells
Salt and pepper to taste
Zest of 2 tangerines
1 to 1 1/2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 shakes of white-wine vinegar
For The Zested Mascarpone:
1 lb. good mascarpone cheese
2 tbs. turbinado sugar, plus more for garnish
Zest of 3 Meyer lemons
Zest of 3 tangerines
Pinch of salt
For the chestnuts: (1) Cut the chestnuts in half while still warm and (2) remove the meat. Tear the chestnuts into large pieces and season with salt and pepper to taste. Dress lightly with olive oil, the tangerine zest, and the vinegar. Toss to combine. For the zested mascarpone: Combine all the ingredients and fluff together with a fork, without dissolving the sugar. To serve: Spoon 2 tablespoons of the zested mascarpone on a plate. (3) Top with a mound of the seasoned chestnuts. Sprinkle a few more grains of sugar over the top. Serve immediately.