You want to talk about cooking without a net, let’s talk amaranth greens. This was a first in the box for us. My husband pulled them out of the box and I was instantly entranced by how pretty they were. Silky leaves with a purple center, fading to green edges. And the name just sounds like some kind of Medieval poison frequently used by a Shakespearean villain. Amaranth.
I did what I always do when I encounter a new vegetable. To the internets! But I couldn’t turn up much for amaranth greens. Plenty for the grain, but not much that sounded good for the greens. I did find a site that said to treat them like spinach. They did closely match the texture of raw spinach, so I gave it a shot. I sauteed the greens with garlic and lime, and presented them with a big mound of potatoes mashed with queso fresco and broiled tomatoes. The result was delicious and I felt buoyed by the fact that I took on this crazy mystery vegetable and won. Sometimes it’s discouraging that we can’t swap out any of our vegetables at our pick up location, but other times it’s really really cool to have your boundaries pushed. Sometimes you learn that the view from those new borders is pretty nice.
Amaranth Greens with Broiled Tomatoes and Queso Fresco Mashed Potatoes
Feeds 2 -4
1 lb potatoes, diced into 1/2″ cubes
1/4 c butter
1 c crumbled queso fresco, divided
salt and pepper to taste
3 medium tomatoes, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 Anaheim or similar pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
drizzle of olive oil
1 bunch amaranth greens, thick stems removed, cut into 1″ strips
Juice of 1 lime
For the mashed potatoes: Boil 1 lb of diced potatoes in heavily salted water until they are tender when poked with a fork. Drain the water, then mash the potatoes with 1/4 c butter and 1/2 c crumbled queso fresco. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and keep warm.
Meanwhile, arrange the tomato slices on a baking sheet and place directly under a 500 degree broiler. Broil for 3 minutes on each side or until the tomatoes are bubbly and have charred spots, carefully flipping with a spatula halfway through. Set aside.
In a large skillet, saute the diced pepper and garlic until they are soft and fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Add the amaranth greens and the lime juice, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes or until the greens are tender. Stir frequently, and if the greens appear to be drying out, add a tablespoon of water. Salt and pepper to taste
Arrange a mound of mashed potatoes on a plate. Top with 3 or 4 slices of broiled tomatoes. Top with the amaranth greens and an additional crumble of queso fresco. Add a couple drops of sriracha on top if you’re feeling spicy.