I'm definitely all about that oatmeal, but this morning, I was cleaning up some of my kitchen's inventory and came across a forgotten bag of amaranth. Usually, I toast amaranth to add a simple, slightly nutty crunch to yogurt, salads, roasted vegetables..much like our granola. But for the last six months, I let this totally underrated grain sit neglected on a shelf.
So what is amaranth? Well, it's an ancient grain cultivated by the Aztecs, high in protein, the amino acid lysine, calcium, and iron . In terms of taste, amaranth has a nutty flavor profile like quinoa. However, the grains are much smaller and still retain their chew when cooked.
And ah, another forgotten, or rather, an avoided item. A jar of the honey ginger syrup used to infuse the sliced sweet potatoes from last year's limited edition flavor that were then dehydrated to a crisp. Tsss, the jar hissed as I turned the lid. This syrup belonged with the kombucha silently brewing under my bed. If you know me at all, I tend to hold onto food items for the sake of not letting it go to waste. But after having a taste, it seemed okay, if not a little effervescent. Anyway, the pears turned out well. But for this recipe, I'll spare you my techniques of creating a fermented syrup with starchy sweet potato sediment and suggest an alternate method.
So, here you have these delicate, succulent pears with a zing of ginger, resting on top of a bed of nutty amaranth, and its juices pooled with a dollop of tangy and indulgent crème fraîche. Our rosemary granola always adds a nice aroma to a dish, and the olive oil? Oh, don't skimp. Get the fruitiest, highest quality extra virgin olive oil you can find. I recently went on a wine tour in Provence (the most incredible birthday gift from a dear friend) and brought back a bottle made from vineyard-grown olives at Chateau La Verrerie. When I tried it, I was immediately impressed with the flavor: hints of blackberry and dark chocolate. I never thought I'd say that to describe olive oil, but here I was with my taste buds commanded into high gear after a wine tasting. And of course, I can't go without a good sprinkling of flaky Maldon sea salt to balance the flavors. Enjoy.
Makes 1 steamin' good bowl
For the roasted pear:
For the amaranth porridge:
Preheat oven to 400˚.
Rinse and drain amaranth. Combine with milk, water, and salt. Bring amaranth to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes with a lid on until the amaranth is soft. Add a bit more milk to thin the texture out if desired.
Slice or dice the pear. Toss with the honey and spices. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the pears are tender.
Serve amaranth porridge in a bowl with roasted pear, a dollop of crème fraîche, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of rosemary granola and flaky sea salt.