Taste buds winners in shell game


In the fall, people used to forage and store nuts for winter. Today, nuts are no longer a dietary staple, but they are still a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps keep LDL cholesterol from being oxidized in the blood.

Their high fat content makes nuts susceptible to rancidity. When you're buying nuts, smell them first to make sure they're fresh.

Grilled beef tenderloin with hazelnuts

Makes 4 servings

2 cups veal or poultry stock

1 cup red wine

2 cups hazelnuts, roasted, skinned and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons ground fennel seed

2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 beef tenderloin steaks, 8 ounces each

1/2 cup Jack Daniels, optional

salt and black pepper to taste

1/4 cup green onions, diced

4 sprigs mint for garnish

Heat oven to 550 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, combine veal or poultry stock and red wine. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, cooking about 10 minutes, until thickened to coat the back of a spoon.

In a small bowl, combine roasted hazelnuts, fennel and black peppercorns. Rub oil on the surface of the steaks. Press the top and bottom of the steaks into the nut mixture. Place steaks in an oven-proof skillet. Position on lower rack of oven, cooking until steaks reach desired doneness. Allow 3 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, return the sauce to a simmer. Add the Jack Daniels if desired. Adjust the seasonings with salt and black pepper.

Spoon sauce onto the lower half of serving plate. Sprinkle green onions over the sauce. Position steaks in the center of the sauce. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Nutrition per serving, using lean beef, low-sodium chicken, unsalted hazelnuts and omitting liquor: 811 calories; 67 percent calories from fat; 60 grams fat; 143 milligrams cholesterol; 151 milligrams sodium; 13 grams carbohydrate; 57 grams protein.

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