Beginning this week, I'll be writing a weekly entry called "Ask the Chef".
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Who am I, you might ask? My name is Carol Blonder. I've been contributing to Chow Bella for a few weeks. I have worked as a pastry chef, private chef, caterer and culinary instructor. One of the joys of the culinary world is the constant learning, tips from other chefs as well as foodies, customers and students.
This week's question: Where can I find green almonds?
For starters, what the heck is it? A green almond is quite simply a young or unripe almond. Actually it is the fruit that precedes the development of the nut. Green almonds are mostly referenced in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, and during their short season, March and April, can be found sold on the street as a snack as well as in the market. Lucky for us, they are also grown and harvested in California.
The exterior husk is Kermit-like: green and slightly fuzzy. At its freshest, the pod is edible and has a slight crunch. Inside is a tender white seed, surrounded by a skin that changes color from creamy white to green, like the interior of an avocado.
Mohammed at Open Sesame Market in north Phoenix -- where we finally found the almonds, after finding they were sold out at other markets -- recommends sprinkling with a little salt, and if you like, dip in olive oil then pop the green almond, husk and all, into your mouth.
For those of you with an aversion to green, fuzzy, slightly astringent husks, use a small pairing knife and like you would halve an avocado, remove the husk and with the tip of your knife spring free the milky white seed. The seed has a grassy flavor, somewhat fresh and watery like a cucumber. When freshest, the seed has a jelly-like consistency.
I found the almonds at Open Sesame, along with fresh grape leaves, fresh walnuts, and green plums -- also seasonal specialties. Green almonds can be ordered online at greenalmonds.com,
Hurry, the season is almost over.
Do you have a question for Carol? Leave it in the comment section or email email@example.com