Jamaican Nutmeg Is Friggin’ Sweet

While cooking for a dinner party/cooking class. Actually a bachelorette party for 10 awesome women.

The story

Wendy, the bride to be, was Jamaican. She loved cooking and food, and had a wonderful collection of Jamaican cooking products from her home town; stuff like local wild honey, that had beautiful, grassy floral notes… reminds you honey should taste like more than just honey. And this Jamaican Nutmeg; which I thought had just an amazing look to it…like a piece of art.
I had pulled out my grated nutmeg seed to add a little sweet earthiness to the Gnocchi we were making, and Wendy just wasn’t havin’ any of it. She went straight to the cupboard and said “Here darlin’…use this…now you know.” Well, those weren’t her exact words, but you get the idea.

Not so common

Turns out (I can’t believe I didn’t already know this…or just forgot), that nutmeg is the seed of a fruit. I knew the outside shell (the aril) was mace; another common cooking spice, kinda like mellow nutmeg. Turns out the yellow fruit (see left pic) is totally edible and quite often made into tangy jams in India and Indonesia. Damn! That sucks…I want nutmeg jam.

We get tons of nutmeg seed imported into the states; how is there not a market for this yellow fruit and it’s fresh red mace? The fresh mace can also be steeped to add color to a dish. I wonder if the yellow fruit from the nutmeg in my cupboard was put to waste?

Just so many uses, and all I ever did was grate it…frugality fail.

Here’s that Gnocchi recipe

Truffled Gnocchi
3 medium russet potatoes (baked, peeled, and riced)
3 egg yolks
around 1½c flour maybe more
3T Parmesan cheese
1T white truffle oil
pinch of fresh nutmeg

On a clean flat surface put the riced potatoes in a pile, 3/4c flour, egg yolks, cheese, oil, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Lightly work together with your hands until a ball can be formed. It will not feel completely dry, but only add flour to add strength. If it feels to delicate, add more but not to much because you can’t take it away. Divide into smaller balls. Throw some flour on a clean surface and roll a ball out until it is about 1/2in. in diameter. With a knife, cut 1in. long segments; transfer to a floured cookie sheet and repeat the process, until all the gnocchi dough is cut up. Bring a large pot of water to a high boil and salt heavily. * do in batches and don’t over crowd the pot with gnocchi. Blanch until the gnocchi rise to the top, then give em another 20 seconds. Transfer to either a hot pan with a bit of oil and butter to crisp and brown. Or, transfer to ice water to stop the cooking process; then store in the fridge.