amaranth porridge with roasted tomatoes
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
12 ounces heirloom and/or cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sprigs oregano, leaves removed
¼ cup walnuts
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon amaranth
¼ cup cream
½ teaspoon salt
2 sprigs flowering oregano, leaves + blossoms removed
puffed amaranth (recipe below)
In a small bowl, combine the sliced shallot, red wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard seeds, and a pinch of salt. Allow to marinate at room temperature while you prepare the tomatoes and amaranth.
For the tomatoes: preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice any larger cherry tomatoes (if using) in half, and slice any heirloom tomatoes (if using) in ¼-inch slices. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the tomatoes over top. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with the oregano leaves and salt. Bake until softened and slightly caramelized, about 35 minutes.
Add the walnuts to a separate sheet pan and roast in the 350°F oven for 10 - 12 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Remove and let cool. Coarsely crush in a mortar + pestle or roughly chop with a knife.
Meanwhile, cook the amaranth: In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup of the amaranth and 2½ cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, until the amaranth has absorbed the water and is soft, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the amaranth from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the cream and salt and allow to bubble for 1 - 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and stir in the marinating liquid from the shallots (reserve the shallots). Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
To serve: Spoon the amaranth into 2 shallow bowls. Top with the roasted tomatoes + juices and marinated shallots. Sprinkle with fresh oregano leaves + blossoms, puffed amaranth, and crushed walnuts. Drizzle with cream and serve immediately.
To puff the amaranth: Heat a small pan over medium-high heat until hot. Test the pan's temperature by flicking a tiny bit of water into the pan. If the water immediately beads into droplets that fly across the pan, it's ready. Add 1 tablespoon of uncooked amaranth and immediately cover the pan. Shake the pan over medium-high heat (the amaranth should start popping within a few seconds), for 20 - 30 seconds. Immediately pour the puffed amaranth into a bowl to keep it from burning.