Saturday, April 5, 2014

Amaranth Polenta Quiche

Jamun/Indian blackberry blooms...sign of Spring
March moved on to April with some hint of rain but never a full-fledged storm the kind that we usually associate with the month. There's this film of dust that clings to surfaces and housework takes so much longer. How I wish for rain now. Without the March storms, my mango tree has every branch intact and it surely looks like I'll have a good crop this year. Buds on my jamun tree have burst into gorgeous creamy, feathery blooms and there's no dearth of winged pollinators on my tree. The heady mix of floral and fruity sweetness surely bring a spring to my step as I head to the terrace to water my plants. The thought of making some new dishes with this summer fruit and the images from a past issue of Good Food magazine splash purple, burgundy and magenta desserts on my mind. Bliss!
The tree draws the most attractive visitors!
And this also the season when leafy greens like the amaranth, goosefoot and purslane spring up in abundant clumps. Weeds on flower beds but wonderful greens otherwise. Amaranth tastes delicious during this time of the year. Cooked amaranth leaves are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and folate; they are also a complementing source of other vitamins such as thiamine,niacin, and riboflavin plus some dietary minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese. (Facts taken from Wiki).
Amaranth

Ingredients for the shell--
1 cup instant polenta
2 cups chicken stock

The filling:
1 thick bunch of amaranth
2 eggs
150 ml cream
Half a cup of cheese, grated
Butter for frying as well as greasing the tin
1 onion, chopped fine
A pinch of grated nutmeg 
A quarter tsp of grated ginger 
Chilli flakes, optional

Grease a loose-bottomed tart tin with butter and keep aside. Cook the polenta by heating the stock and pouring the polenta in a thin stream. Keep stirring to ensure that there are no lumps. This will take about 12-15 minutes. Cool for a while and then transfer to the tin and spread on all sides with the help of a ladle/or the back of a spoon. Bake in a 170C oven for about 20 minutes.

For the filling, wash the greens and drain. Chop fine. Since I used tender amaranth there was no need to separate the stems from the leaves. Or else the stems need to have the skin removed, the same action as for stringing beans. 
Heat the butter in a pan, add the onions and fry till they change colour. Then add the greens. Cook till they wilt. Season with salt and pepper. You can go easy on the salt as the cheese will be added later. Add the grated ginger. Remove from the flame and cool. 
Whisk the eggs in a bowl, add the cream and the grated cheese.
Now take the tart shell and layer the bottom with the cooked leaves. Place it on a tray and add the mix of wet ingredients. Dust with grated nutmeg. Sprinkle some chilli flakes, if using. Bake in a 180C oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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