Are peanuts the new food trend?

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Peanuts can be normally found in a small bowl on a bar top, but lately more dishes in restaurants are including this lowly legume as among the taste highlights.  According to the Technomics MenuMonitor of the National Peanut Board, peanuts in restaurant menus have jumped from 44.6 since 2006.

Now that’s probably the nuttiest news you’ll hear of as many people are allergic to peanuts.  However, as the American tongue has become more receptive of exotic flavors, peanuts usually play an important aspect in these flavor profiles, particularly in Asian dishes.

Asian dishes such as pad thai, Manchu duck, kung pao chicken  and different Asian salads use peanuts as an interesting finishing flavors.  Restaurants like P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and Panera extensively use peanuts in their dishes either as a garnish or as a secondary component.  The South African peanut soup as served in restaurants like 3 Vines Café in Sleepy Hollow, Illinois and Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in Roanoke, Virginia are gaining popularity as well.  Of course, who does not love peanuts in their desserts?  Island Creek Oyster Bar’s frozen peanut butter dessert is one of the most popular on the menu.

If you don’t have allergies or if you have a special place for peanuts in your heart, stir up your daily cuisine by putting some peanut flavor and crunch in your meal.  Whip up these dishes and let this trend remain alive.

Asian Slaw with Peanuts

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tbsp oriental sesame oil

1 1/2 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger

2 tsp soy sauce

6 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage

6 green onions, very thinly sliced

6 ounces snow peas, stringed, thinly sliced lengthwise

1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 cup roasted peanuts

Directions

Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix cabbage and remaining ingredients in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat.

Season with salt and pepper.

Pork Stir Fry with Green Beans and Peanuts

Ingredients

12 ounces pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2×1/4-inch strips

4 tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 tbsp honey

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper

1 pound green beans, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths

1 cup matchstick-size strips peeled carrots (about 2 medium)

2

tbsp canola oil

1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2×1/4-inch strips

1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup finely chopped lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts

Directions

Mix pork, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon honey, half of garlic, and crushed red pepper in medium bowl. Mix remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce and remaining 1/2 tablespoon honey in small bowl; set aside.

Cook green beans in large saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add carrots to green beans in water; cook 1 minute. Drain carrots and green beans. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pork mixture; stir-fry 1 minute. Transfer pork to dish. Add remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil to wok; add red bell pepper and stir-fry 1 minute. Add green beans, carrots, ginger, and remaining garlic; stir-fry 1 minute. Return pork to wok along with reserved soy sauce-honey mixture; stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and chopped peanuts and serve.

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Yasmin Coles

Yasmin Coles

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