1/4/11

Ginkgo Nuts

I remember sitting in freshman biology class in college, and the teacher explaining the major divisions of the seed bearing plants: pinophyta (pine trees, etc.), cycadophyta (often mistaken for palm trees, but are their own division), gnetophyta, magnoliophyta (flowering plants), and ginkgophyta (the ginkgo tree). Of all the divisions, the ginkgo is the only one with a single surviving species. Nothing else stuck out about the ginkophyta division, than the fact that it was its only member, and that it's ooooooold.

Nothing stuck out, until I tried the ginkgo nuts that Boss Man picked up from an excursion to Chinatown. You can find them all over the place in Chinatown, and they're relatively inexpensive. Inexpensive though they be, they're delicious.

They've got a firm texture, as well as a fairly neutral flavour, which happily soaks up whatever you're cooking with. What do we do with it at Chow? As if the Risotto wasn't Asian inspired enough (what with the flavourings of miso paste, and shoyu), in went the ginko And all of a sudden, the texture has a whole different dimension to it.

Risotto, as you may know, does have a tendency to be a bit on the soft side, which is why things like gingko nuts, vegetables of various shades and textures, nuts, etc go so well in risotto: the texture contrast is exquisite. Boss Man went on a trip to Chinatown this morning to get more yuba, a couple of other things, and passed by a little old lady peeling ginkgo nuts. He bought some from her, and she was so excited for him.

And now you can be excited for the risotto.
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