Nutmeg - myristica fragrans
Nutmeg and mace are different parts of the same fruit of the nutmeg tree. Nutmeg is the nut or pit of the fruit. Mace is a delicate filament-like covering around the outside of the nut. Both have a similar flavour, with mace being a little less sweet than nutmeg. Nutmeg is available ground or whole. Whole pods can be easily grated as needed for cooking.
A soft beginning that is slightly warm, then spreading to the edges of the tongue with a sweet sensation.
How to Use:
Nutmeg can be substituted for mace in recipes. Nutmeg is slightly sweeter than mace.
Pork, beef, lamb, chicken, fish, creamed dishes, vegetables, soups, cream cheese spreads, sauces, apple dishes, pound cake, spice cake, devil's food cake, gingerbread, frostings, hot chocolate, puddings, custards, waffles, pancakes, doughnuts, coffee cake, Danish pastry, glazes, muffins, breads, punches and candy.
Nutmeg goes nicely with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and pepper. Add nutmeg at the end of cooking because cooking diminishes its flavour. For a quick and exotic flavour to vegetables boil and mash potatoes or cauliflower and stir in butter, salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
The lacy covering that surrounds the nutmeg is called the aril. It is scarlet coloured when the nutmeg is first harvested. The arial turns an orange-yellow or red-orange colour by the time it is harvested.
Mushroom Nutmeg Pasta
5 tablespoons butter
2 onions, finely chopped
2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 cup cream
1 pound of paste (fusilli, fettuccine, penne are nice!)
Sauté onions in the butter until soft. Add mushrooms and cook until they have released all their liquid. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add cream and just heat through. Cook the pasta per package directions. Drain. Toss pasta and sauce together in a large bowl. Serve immediately with parmesan.