Walnuts are rich, crisp-textured nuts with crinkled surfaces. They have a rich, slightly astringent flavor. English walnuts, the most familiar variety, are available whole or shelled (halves or pieces). American black walnuts have a stronger flavor.
To toast and skin walnuts:
Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 325°F (165°C) oven. Toast, shaking the sheet occasionally, until the nuts just begin to change color and are fragrant, 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Rub the warm nuts in a kitchen towel to remove the thin, papery skins.To chop walnuts: Spread the walnuts on a work surface and, using a chef's knife, chop with a rocking motion. Or, chop the nuts in a food processor fitted with the metal blade; do not overprocess or the nuts will turn into a paste.To grind walnuts: A countertop nut mill is the best tool for grinding nuts evenly. Alternatively, grind nuts with a mortar and pestle. You can also use a food processor fitted with 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, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, and pistachios.