Amaranth is definitely one of the grains that leave folks scratching their heads wondering what it is and what you might possibly do with it. Amaranth has a very earthy flavor and doesn’t cook up just like any other grain. When Chef Gregory Denton & Gabrielle Quinonez Denton of Portland’s Ox
chose amaranth for their Grains of Discovery World Launch Party
dish, we were very excited to see what they would do with it. This dish is complicated, yes, but delicious. If you don’t want to take on making octopus or the amaranth ‘caviar,’ the croquettes on their own are divine.
Want to know more about Amaranth? Join us tonight for a Google Plus Hangout at 5 pm PST here: http://goo.gl/gm6xf1
Ricotta “Amarancini” With Octopus Fra Diavolo & Amaranth Caviar
For the Amarancini Croquettes:
Yields approximately 24 ounces of mix, which should be about 16 Amarancini balls.
- 1 ½ cup cooked Amaranth
- 1 Egg, beaten
- 1 cup Ricotta
- ½ cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
- ¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour
- Fine zest of 1 Lemon
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Chives
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian Parsley
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh Oregano
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- ¼ tsp Black Pepper
Vegetable oil for deep-frying, approximately 1 qt for a medium-sized pot. Combine everything except the flour and the frying oil in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix to combine until everything is well distributed. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Chill, and then shape into balls, about the size of a Ping-Pong ball (1 ½ ounces). Refrigerate for half an hour. Heat oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit then gently place balls into the oil. Only fry as many as you can fit into the fryer without lowering the temperature of the oil too much. Fry until golden brown all over and heated through, approximately 5-7 minutes, then remove from fryer and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil. Keep warm in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven. Repeat procedure until you have fried all the balls.
For the Octopus Fra Diavolo:
- 2 cups chopped canned Tomatoes, preferably San Marzanos
- 1 cup Water
- 7 ea Garlic Cloves, cleaned and smashed
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 ½ tsp Chili Flakes
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh Oregano
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Basil
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian Parsley
- ¼ cup Capers, drained
- 2 Tbsp chopped Mama Lil’s Pickled Peppers
- 8 oz cooked Octopus, medium-diced (to cook raw octopus, see recipe below)
- 2 tsp Kosher Salt
Place tomatoes, water, garlic cloves, olive oil and chili flakes in a non-reactive pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add capers and octopus. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Mix in the chopped herbs right before serving.
For the Amaranth Caviar:
- ½ cup cooked Amaranth
- ¼ cup minced Yellow Onion
- 2 Tbsp Squid Ink
- ¾ tsp Kosher Salt
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Heat olive oil in a small pan over medium heat and add onion. Sauté until translucent then add squid ink. Turn heat to low and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in cooked Amaranth and salt. Chill.
To Assemble Dish:
Place approximately 6-8 ounces of the warm Octopus Fra Diavolo sauce on a plate or in a bowl. Place 4 Amarancini Croquettes on top of the sauce, then place a small dollop of the chilled Amaranth Caviar on top of each Croquette and
To Cook Amaranth:
- 1 cup uncooked Amaranth
- 6 cups water
- 1 tbs + 1 tsp kosher salt
Bring water and salt to a boil and stir in Amaranth. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and strain through a fine meshed strainer. Rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well.
Yields about 2 cups of cooked Amaranth.
To Cook Raw Octopus:
- 1 ea raw Spanish octopus, approximately 6 lbs
- 1 gal water
- ½ cup kosher salt
Bring water to a boil and add salt. Place octopus in water and lower heat to a low simmer. Cook for 90 minutes or until tender. Cool and store in its cooking liquid.