Peanuts are legumes with a nutlike flavor. They are sold in the shell or shelled; whole or in halves; raw or dry-roasted; and unsalted, salted, or only lightly salted. Dry-roasted peanuts, which have not been cooked in oil, are preferred in Asian cooking. The Virginia variety of peanut is longer and more oval than the smaller red-skinned Spanish variety.
To toast peanuts:
Spread the peanuts on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 325°F (165°C) oven. Toast, shaking the sheet occasionally, until the peanuts just begin to change color and are fragrant, 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.To chop peanuts: Spread the peanuts on a work surface and, using a chef's knife, chop with a rocking motion. Or, chop the peanuts in a food processor fitted with the metal blade; do not overprocess or the nuts will turn into a paste.For other nut varieties, see almonds, Brazil nuts, candlenuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts.