Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spicy Amaranth Greens with Preserved Lemons

This dish was inspired by one made with spinach that we found online - since we're so in love with amaranth, it got these greens instead. Also, the few spices in it weren't enough for our heat-loving palates, so we added our own fresh harissa and balanced out the heat with some creamy, resinous raw pine nuts. This is super spicy, but that can be altered with less of the harissa. It is unusual to have cooked parsley and cilantro in a salad in the Western part of the world - it's too bad. The cilantro, parsley, and celery are in the same plant family (Apiaceae - the carrot family), so mirror the 'carroty' flavor of each other. Each has its own twist on the family jewels, however, and they all end up balancing each other out. The pine nuts are a must, as they do something special to all three of them.

1 lb amaranth greens
3/4 c parsley, finely chopped
1/2 c cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 c celery leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves,minced/pressed
1 Tbl spicy harissa
1 preserved lemon quarter, finely chopped
1 Tbl lemon juice
1/4 c raw pine nuts
3 cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
  1. Trim off tough stems from the amaranth, remove bruised and yellowed leaves. Rinse well, drain, and coarsely chop.
  2. In a 5-6 quart pan, combine amaranth greens, parsley, cilantro, and celery leaves. Stir over high heat just until greens are wilted, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Pour vegetables into a colander set over a bowl. Press greens mixture to remove liquid; place vegetables in a serving bowl. (If made ahead, cover and chill up to a day.)
  4. Return drained greens liquid to pan; add garlic and harissa and whisk to combine.
  5. Boil, uncovered, over high heat until reduced to about 2 Tbl, 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add oil, preserved lemon, and lemon juice.
  7. Top greens with tomatoes and pour dressing over the vegetables.

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