Nutmeg is an ingredient that tends to be overlooked in the kitchen. With a fascinating taste that is mildly sweet, somewhat woody, and a bit peppery, it is used mostly for desserts or drinks.
A native ingredient from Indonesia, nutmeg comes from an evergreen tree, now planted in more countries, that found its way to Mexico in the years of the Spanish Colony with its vast and intensive trade routes to the East.
Cute little seeds, they appear to be unpeeled nuts or large pebbles from the outside. They are very hard and solid and cannot be chopped. The best way to use them is freshly ground with a grater. They are also best used judiciously, as a little goes a long way. Once you grate them, you can see their lovely marbled interior.
Some people buy and use nutmeg grinders, but I find that any fine grater will do.
An interesting piece of information, the spice mace is made from the thin protective layer that covers the nutmeg seed.
I love using nutmeg on potato or sweet potato puree, fish, shrimp croquettes, soups and desserts. I know I have yet to explore further uses of this intense and charming spice.