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“Where is your nut cracker?” My friend asked with a level of intensity that made me want to obey. As I pondered the question, I realized that I did not actually own one. So not wanting to disappoint I handed her a rather large hammer. Looking at it with slight disbelief and instant understanding she commented, “That will work.” So for the next 15 minutes we cracked walnuts, talking and joking and discussing the merits of walnuts and the length of drying time needed for the perfect walnut. Growing up in a geographical region that did not have walnuts, I was very intrigued by the multiple layers that you have to go through just to get to the edible portion of the nut. The process is essentially thus: in late August or early September you gather the nuts, either directly off the tree or foraging them off the ground. You then remove the outer husks to reveal what we recognize as a walnut. Now this is where the debate rages, how long to dry them before eating? The longer you dry them the stronger and more pronounced the bitter walnut flavour will be. The walnuts we ate were young, slightly moist, subtle in flavour and tasted exceptional with our avgotaraho Messolonghiou, (mullet roe cured in beeswax) fried green beans and lemon juice.

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