Amaranth Cakes with Wild Mushrooms
After experimenting with many types of grain for the cakes, Traunfeld found that amaranths nutty, earthy flavor is perfect.
- ½ oz. dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup amaranth grain
- 2 Tbs. shallots
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh marjoram
- Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
- 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. wild mushrooms such as chanterelles or morels, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped shallots
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh marjoram
- 1 cup shaved Parmegiano Reggiano cheese
- To make batter for Cakes: Pour 2 cups boiling water over dried porcini, and let soak for 15 minutes. Using slotted spoon, lift mushrooms from water. Carefully pour mushroom water through fine sieve into another container, discarding any sediment. Rinse mushrooms again, and chop very fine. Set aside.
- Place amaranth, shallots, salt, chopped mushrooms and 11/2 cups mushroom liquid in medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to very low. Cook for 25 minutes or until grain absorbs all liquid. Transfer to mixing bowl, and cool. Stir in egg, flour and marjoram.
- To make Mushroom Mixture: Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, season with salt and cook, tossing from time to time, until mushrooms release moisture and begin to brown. Add shallots and garlic, cook 1 minute more and add wine. Continue to cook until only a few tablespoons of liquid remain. Stir in butter and marjoram, and transfer to bowl or saucepan. Keep warm while making cakes.
- To make Cakes: Pour 1/8-inch layer of olive oil into large skillet, and heat over medium heat. When oil is hot, drop in 2 tablespoon-sized mounds of amaranth batter, and flatten with fork into pancake shape. Cook until browned on bottoms, about 1 minute, flip and brown top. Repeat with remaining batter until used up.
- To serve, alternate layers of amaranth cakes and mushrooms on individual serving plates or large platter. Top with shaved cheese, and serve immediately.
These earthy mushroom cakes will pair with a wide range of wines, so consider the other dishes you will be eating. Rich, creamy dishes might call for a red or white Burgundy wine. Perhaps there’s something spicy that might call for Riesling or Shiraz. Perhaps it’s a special-
occasion meal calling for something bubbly.