“By posting this pairing I am entering a contest sponsored by Pistachio Health Institute and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”
Mediterranean Indulgence: an in-shell pistachio pairing is my entry in a contest sponsored by the Pistachio Health Institute in tandem with the RecipeRedux. The idea is to come up with a winning combination of in-shell pistachios with other food and drink. There are 4 categories and a winner is chosen from each one. The categories are: Mediterranean, reduced calorie, kid friendly, and indulgent. My pairing fits into the categories of Mediterranean, and indulgent.
The Pistachio Health Institute wants people to know that pistachios make a great healthy snack. They inform consumers that a one-ounce serving is about 49 nuts, and that a reduced serving of 30 nuts is around 100 calories. Here’s what the Institute says about the nuts: “Crack ‘em, Chew ‘em, Love ‘em, Leave ‘em.” So after you’ve cracked, eaten and enjoyed the nuts, leave the shells on the table. This will be a good visual reminder for you about how many you’ve eaten. One study showed that “People who consumed in-shell pistachios ate 41 percent fewer calories than those who consumed pistachios without shells.” So leave the empty shells on the table or in a dish.
For this pairing contest I knew my entry had to be Mediterranean, but it also turned out to be sensuously indulgent:
In-Shell Pistachios + Calimyrna Dried Figs + Lightly Aged Manchego
+ Osborne Cream Sherry = YUM!
Notice there are 2 salty items (Sa)—the pistachios and the Manchego, and there are 2 sweet items (Sw)—the figs and the Cream Sherry. I had enormous fun trying different combinations of these bites and sips: SwSwSaSa, SwSaSwSa, Sw+SwSa+Sa, SaSwSaSw, etc. Here is my favorite way (Sw+SwSa+Sa): I start with a little sip of sherry, and then I bite into a fig atop a small slice of Manchego. The soft jelly texture of the figs gushes out over the tongue and mixes with the dry Manchego for the pleasing sweet ‘n salty, soft ‘n firm experience. After that I crack open (nice sound effect here) and chew on a few pistachios, which add a new crunchy dimension to the mix, they clean the palate, and then I start the process over. YUM!
To serve the pairing, place the figs, cheese and pistachios on a plate in the center of the table. Use additional plates for more than 4 or 5 people. In a family setting, just leave the shells on the table. If you have guests you many want to provide each person with a small bowl for the empty shells. Enjoy!
1. Painter, J. “The Effect of Pistachio Shells as a Visual Cue in Reducing Caloric Consumption.” Appetite. 2011, 57(2):418-420.
2. Honselman, C.S., Painter, J.E., Kennedy-Hagan, K.J., Halvorson, A., Rhodes, K., Brooks, T.L., & Skwir, K. “In-shell pistachio nuts reduce caloric intake compared to shelled nuts.” Appetite. 2011, 57(2):414-417.