Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Amaranth Greens I - Amaranth & Fennel Salad

The farmer's market has many new vegetables for us to try, things we haven't seen in the supermarket for one reason or another. A couple weeks ago, our trip to the farmer's market resulted in the purchase of amaranth and Chinese spinach, which looked pretty similar, but at the very least looked beautiful: dark green, rounded leaves with a large magenta splotch originating at the veins. We purchased them to see what they would taste like.

We were happily impressed! The amaranth wilted like a surprisingly sturdy spinach, and stood up to a fair bit of cooking with ease. It was nutty, with better flavor than spinach. If we can get it year round, I'm not sure we'll go back to spinach - it's that good, and supposedly that good for you (although after 30 minutes of online searching, there isn't much hard data about this).

Monday night's dinner salad of amaranth and fennel bulb was really, really yummy - here's how we made it, at least this time around.

Amaranth and Fennel salad
serves 2-3
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced crosswise into 1/8" slices
  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c. chicken stock
  • 2 threads saffron
  • 2 Tbl chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 large bunch amaranth greens
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • (optional: fresh shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  1. Saute the fennel bulb in the oil and salt over medium-high heat until the fennel is soft.
  2. Meanwhile, wash the amaranth leaves and steam them in a large stockpot with a steaming basket until just barely done, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the stock/saffron mix to the fennel.
  4. Mix the two together in a saute pan over medium heat until combined and amaranth is thoroughly cooked.

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