We have all had hazelnuts in Nutella, and they are really delicious in Italian desserts, but have you thought to incorporate these luscious little nuts into savory dishes? Today, I took a bite of a beet salad and was happy to discover them floating amidst slivered onions and tarragon. The silky texture of hazelnuts is perfect for salads, pastas, risotto, crumbled over fish, with cheese, pureed, shaved, or just as is. Hazelnuts appear frequently in Dutch Still Life paintings, such as the one featured in the accompanying picture, but I have yet to find out what they symbolized. I read that they are used as a shape to draw the eye towards the center of a composition, but I have a feeling they meant much more.

Painting: "Still-Life with a Bearded Man Crock and a Nautilus Shell Cup," by Boelema De Stomme Maerten, 1642-44, Oil on wood, 73 x 96 cm, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels

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