Monday, October 01, 2007
Fried okra, fried pickles, fried Snickers bars--just when you thought Southerners couldn't fry another thing, here come fried peanuts! They seem to be fairly new on the scene, but I've seen them popping up more and more in gas stations and roadside stands across the Carolinas. These are whole peanuts fried in the shell, and they come salted or in Cajun flavor (I've also heard reports of barbecue and salt-and-vinegar flavors, but I've never actually seen them for sale). Intrigued, I finally bought a batch, made by Mike's Peanuts in Summerville SC and sold down at the Boone Hall Farm store on US 17 here in Mount Pleasant.
The thing about fried peanuts is that you can, in theory, eat them shell and all. Whether you would want to is another matter. Since it's fried up nice and crispy, the shell can be easily chewed and swallowed, but it's still a little too fibrous for my taste. At the same time, if you just split and discard the shell like you would with a roasted peanut, you lose out on a lot of the good salty flavor. One route is to pop the whole peanut into your mouth (like many people do a boiled peanut), pop out the nuts, then discard the shell. Or, you can follow the advice of one sage fellow on the Web and eat the shell of every third peanut, which, as I see it, is enough to get the good salty flavor while doing minimal damage to your intestinal tract.
I love the South.
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