Chef Pedro Bargero of Chila Restaurant shines a light on amaranth, a nutritional powerhouse that may be one of the keys to solving global food security.
Chef Pedro Bargero expresses to food activist and educator Charles Michel that amaranth – a Slow Food Ark of Taste product – is underutilized in Argentinian gastronomy, and he showcases how to prepare “amaranth pop,” a simple technique where the small seed “pops” just like popcorn.
Pedro’s mission is to foster a market for local small-scale farmers. After all, they are the lifeblood of society’s efforts for protecting biodiversity. When it comes to Andean grains, amaranth is often overshadowed by quinoa, which exploded on to the superfood scene in the last decade. Amaranth, on the other hand, is an underdog that has many culinary uses and merits attention. One way to do this? Tasting it at one of Latin America’s best restaurants and then buying it to eat at home!
“Amaranth Pop” Crusted Leek with Yogurt
Blanch the green parts of the leek.
Once cool, blend the leek tops with the oil and pass through a sieve. Reserve.
Cook the young leeks in the salted whey for 25 minutes to infuse creaminess and to practice zero waste cooking. Afterwards, grill the leeks over charcoal.
Meanwhile, place the amaranth in a hot pan, cover with a lid and lightly shake. Wait a few minutes until the amaranth seeds start to explode. Reserve.
To serve, choose a shallow dish. First, form and plate a quenelle of yogurt. Then dip the charred leek in the “amaranth pop” before placing it on top of the yogurt. Add the pickled radishes.
Finish the dish with a little leek oil and garnish with peppery nasturtium.