Imagine if the pistachio was as popular in the United States as the peanut. We could have beautiful pale-green pistachio butter and cream-cheese sandwiches, dark chocolate bars with chunks of crunchy pistachios and noodles with piquant pistachio sauce. So why don’t we?
Perhaps chefs are beginning to explore its versatility, though, since we grow so many of the nuts in California (more than 98 percent of the domestic supply). I saw pistachio butter at the Davis Farmers Market in the fall, and recently tasted a delicious fall chop salad at Masullo (2711 Riverside Boulevard). It was a rainbow of red and white endive, grapes, apples, roasted pistachios and a tart cider vinaigrette.
I’ve also tried pistachio macarons at Ginger Elizabeth (1801 L Street) and the rasmalayee at Kabul Kabob (729 J Street). That’s a rich cheesecake soaked in cream (!) and cardamom syrup, topped with chopped pistachios. I can imagine a delicious pistachio pesto over fish.
So if you have a peck of pistachios on hand, don’t just snack on them—get creative!