When it comes to planning for the big football game in New Orleans this year, instead of turning to grease-heavy and heartburn-inducing foods, why not consider some tasty and healthier options that will have everyone giving you a high score for food options?
New Orleans-based executive chef Tory McPhail, of the iconic Commander’s Palace restaurant, has the perfect New Orleans-style recipe incorporating pistachios into your menu. Pistachios are a great snack, and, better yet, they’re what athletes turn to when it comes to peak performance.
Director of Sports Nutrition at USC, Becci Twombley, recommends snacking with a purpose. “On the big day, people are snacking and eating more, so why not consider snacking on something like pistachios that provides you with added nutrients,” asks Twombley. Add protein-rich snacks, like one ounce of pistachios, which contains six grams of protein, to help you feel full faster.
Whether you’re a pro athlete or are calling the shots from the sofa, don’t let what you eat during the big day throw you off-course for the new year. Enter pistachios, your guilt-free solution; they are high in protein, lowest in fat among all nuts and low in calories. Looking for an added bonus? You’ll actually eat less because the act of shelling pistachios slows you down and allows you to feel full before you’ve downed a whole bag.
Take your guests by surprise and add some New Orleans flair into your dishes. “Eat your pistachios like we would eat our crawfish, by first tasting the shell and all to get the seasoning, then peeling off the shell to get the crunchy pistachio inside,” says McPhail. Looking for additional game day recipe ideas or want to pair your pistachios with a drink? Visit the American Pistachio Growers’ website at www.AmericanPistachios.org to find out how your game day snacks can go from boring to gourmet, but don’t fret – even a novice in the kitchen can make this recipe.
Creole Black Skillet Pistachios:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Louisiana hot sauce, such as Crystal Hot Sauce or Tabasco
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 pound salt-roasted pistachios in the shell
1 tablespoons black pepper
2 teaspoons creole seasoning blend
2 tablespoons sugar
Bring all your premeasured ingredients close to the stove, since this recipe goes really quickly and takes only about 30 seconds of cooking. Place a medium-size cast-iron skillet on the stove over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until hot and starting to smoke. Add the oil to the black skillet and swirl across the bottom to coat. Add the garlic and swirl until the garlic starts to turn golden brown. Immediately add the hot sauce and Worcestershire and shake to reduce by half.
Pull the pan away from the stove, deglaze with the bourbon and swirl while returning to the stove; flambe by lighting the bourbon-sauce mixture with a match to burn off the alcohol. When the fire goes out and the sauce is reduced, add the pistachios and shake in the black pepper, creole seasoning and sugar while tossing the pan to coat evenly. Remove the pistachios from the skillet; immediately put in a serving bowl so the seasoning doesn’t become too dark or bitter.