Happy National Macadamia Nut Day! Known also as Australian nut or Queensland nut, the macadamia is native to the land down under. Allan Cunningham, a British botanist, "discovered" the nut in 1828. In 1857, German-Australian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller named the genus Macadamia, after his friend Dr. John Macadam. Eventually, the macadamia found its way to Hawaii, where it became a huge commercial crop. It is now produced in South Africa, Brazil, California, Costa Rica, Israel, Kenya, and Bolivia.
Macadamias are smooth, buttery, and sweet. Jam-packed with nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins like calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium, they also pack a caloric punch! A one-ounce serving of the nuts will cost about 200 calories, so enjoy responsibly. They are also high in fiber and naturally gluten-free.
Try macadamias in sweets like cookies, muffins, and pies. Use them in savory dishes as well, like soups, salads, and meats. This recipe for Macadamia Nut and Brie Stuffed Mushroom Caps from ChefsCatalog.com looks particularly drool-worthy!
Macadamia Nut and Brie Stuffed Mushroom Caps
1 poundbaby bella or crimini mushrooms, stems minced and reserved
1 tablespoonlemon juice
1 tablespoonunsalted butter
1 smallshallot, minced
1 clovegarlic, minced
1/4 cupbread crumbs
1 tablespoonsour cream
2/3 cupmacadamia nuts, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoonground pepper
1/4 teaspoontarragon, minced
1/4 teaspoonchervil, minced
1 teaspoonchives, minced
1 teaspoonItalian parsley, minced
4 ouncesbrie cheese, rind removed and cubed
Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to broil.
In mixing bowl, toss together minced mushroom stems and lemon juice.
Heat sauté pan over medium heat. Melt butter and add stems and sauté 5 to 8 minutes, or until mushrooms release their juice and it evaporates. Add shallot and garlic and sauté until soft. Add breadcrumbs, sour cream, nuts, salt, pepper, and herbs. Stir together and sauté until liquid evaporates. Remove from heat. Stir in brie.
Divide the mixture between the mushroom caps. Place under the broiler and broil 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown and cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot. Serves 4 to 6 as appetizers.
DID YOU KNOW...
Macadamia oil has nearly as many uses as the nut itself. It's rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, while being very low in saturated fats. This means it can help to lower your LDL ("bad") cholesterol while raising your HDL ("good") cholesterol. It can also be used as a moisturizer for your skin or hair!