Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday: Hake with a mustard-amaranth crust

Mustard and popped amaranth crusted hake with steamed broccoli Romanesco and couscous.

The amaranth plant is one of those agreeable vegetables that produces both a leafy green and edible seeds. The seeds, which are quite small, can be used as a grain, but they will also pop (like popcorn!) when dry-roasted. Popped amaranth can be used as a topping in the manner of breadcrumbs; it has a nice texture but not a particularly strong taste.

We improvised this topping for hake: mix dijon mustard with melted butter and a little lemon juice and coat the fillet, then cover with popped amaranth. (Although we usually broil fish, this was instead baked at 450 F for 10 - 12 minutes - we've learned from experience that the crust will burn if broiled.)

The broccoli Romanesco was cut into florets and then steamed in the microwave with a dash of crushed red pepper. We put the florets in a small microwavable bowl with a few tablespoons of water and covered with plastic wrap. We then microwaved the florets on high power for two minutes, then in additional one minute increments as needed until they tasted done.

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