Velosa Quinoa

Here's a healthy dish with unusual ingredients for people with simple tastes. The delicate rich flavor of Amanita velosa doesn't call for competition. It's a challenge to find unique ingredients that flatter its subtle nutty flavor, without falling back upon the old formulas of eggs or cream sauce. Here is one successful experiment that uses the high protein grain from South America called Quinoa. Quinoa serves a simlar role to rice or couscous, being a flavorful and nutritious grain that absorbs the flavors around it. This recipe takes advantage of its neutrality by cooking it with mild spices, later adding it to a mixture of mushrooms and eggplant.


Place the eggplant (at room temperature) in a preheated 350º F oven for 30 minutes. While it is cooking, start the quinoa by combining the quinoa grain, water, cumin, coriander, bay leaf, nutmeg and salt in a lidded pot. Bring the water to a boil and cover the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer for about 25-30 minutes. While the eggplant and quinoa are cooking, chop the garlic and mushrooms. Remove the egglant from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, then carefully remove the skin with a knife (hold it with a towel to avoid burning yourself - it will be very hot.) Chop the baked eggplant into small cubes.

Heat the olive oil in a large deep frying pan or wok. Add the garlic and pine nuts and sautée for a few minutes until they are just starting to turn brown. Add the chopped mushroom and a few tablespoons of the broth. The broth will slow down the rate of cooking to prevent the pine nuts from burning. After about five more minutes, with occasional stirring, add the eggplant and the remaining broth. Reduce the liquid for 5-10 minutes, then add the cooked quinoa. Mix the ingredients together briefly and serve. Alternately you can serve the mushroom and eggplant mixture on top of the quinoa, although the spices will not blend as well this way. (Serves 4-6)