After suffering a longstanding reputation as the scourge of the legume world, the humble peanut is making a comeback.
According to Technomic MenuMonitor, a food industry consultant, the listing of peanuts on menus in the US jumped on average 44 percent between 2006 and 2010, reports Nation's Restaurant News.
Long vilified for triggering serious allergic reactions in children, the peanut has faced numerous bans, from airplanes, classrooms and food factories.
But after number crunching the menus from the top 500 restaurant chains, 117 emerging restaurants and 119 independent restaurants in the US, data showed that chefs and executives are restoring the peanut's damaged reputation and featuring the ingredient as a headliner in their dishes.
The rise in ethnic cuisine is also credited for bringing peanuts back. Both Thai and Vietnamese cuisine - which have seen a rise in popularity over the years - use peanuts as garnishes or in sauces. The ingredient is often used to provide texture to many of its dishes.
Thailand's signature dish for Western diners, Pad Thai, for example, is often topped with crushed peanuts. Likewise, dipping sauces for Vietnamese fresh rolls and wraps are often made with peanut butter and topped with peanuts for added crunch.
The numbers showed that the use of peanut butter as an ingredient also rose 48 percent in the same period.