Lamb with Macadamia and Semi Dried Tomato PestoMacadamia growers are urging Australians to throw a handful of Maccas into their BBQ salads and celebrate with a true Australian icon.
Unique to Australia, macadamias are the only indigenous plant commercially farmed for food in Australia - and the only native Australian plant to become an international food.
It is believed that long before Australia was mapped by European explorers, Aboriginal people would congregate on the eastern slopes of Australia's Great Dividing Range to feed on the seed of what is now known as the macadamia tree.
"What better way to celebrate our heritage and everything truly Australian than with Australias only native nut. Whether you are out and about or entertaining on Australia Day, the macadamia provides the ideal snack to be enjoyed on Australia Day," says Joylon Burnett, CEO of the Australian Macadamia Society.
Apart from their irresistible taste and texture, Burnett says macadamias have additional health and nutrition benefits including the highest amount of beneficial monosaturated fats (good oil) of any nut. They are also high in antioxidants and have the National Heart Foundation Approved Tick, making them part of a healthy balanced diet.
Macadamias also compliment both sweet and savoury recipes making them an ideal ingredient for cooking (see recipes macadamia and lemon cookies; and lamb with macadamia and tomato pesto).
With commercial production centred in northern New South Wales and south eastern Queensland where rich soils and high annual rainfall provide for maximum growth, the macadamia industry has grown dramatically over the last fifty years.
There are around six million trees producing up to 45,000 tonnes of macadamia nuts a year. Seventy five percent of Australian macadamias are exported giving other countries the opportunity to experience a unique taste of Australia.
"Although these unique Aussie nuts are available all year the ideal time to buy macadamias is during the warmer summer months when the season peaks and the price is at its best," says Burnett
300g semi dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ¼ cups chopped raw macadamias
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1-2 tablespoons of the semi dried tomato oil
8-12 trimmed lamb cutlets
1.Place 300g semi dried tomatoes (reserve the marinating oil) in a small food processor along with 2 tablespoons olive oil and process until chopped but not quite smooth. Remove from the food processor and transfer to a bowl. Stir through 1 ¼ cups chopped raw macadamias and 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary, along with 1-2 tablespoons of the semi dried tomato oil to make a moist, pesto like consistency. Cover and set aside.
2.Heat a hot plate on Barbeque over medium high heat. Brush 8-12 trimmed lamb cutlets with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook in batches for 3-4 minutes each side or until done to your liking, covering the cooked cutlets in foil to keep warm as you cook the remaining ones.
3.Serve the cutlets with a large spoonful of macadamia pesto and salad.
This pesto is also ideal for serving as a dip with vegetables such as carrots, capsicum and green beans.