Callaloo (Amaranthus sp.) is a fast-growing spinach relative adapted to a tropical climate. The leaves and young stems are cooked at eaten in a variety of ways. All or nearly all amaranths are edible, both as vegetables and seeds, though some are better suited for one or the other use, and some have better taste and texture than others. The amaranth we are using probably originated in Africa, but we're not sure. It is called callaloo in Jamaica, but has other names in other areas, and the name "callaloo" refers to a completely different plant in Trinidad.
This is an easy recipe that can be served hot or warm with rice and hot pepper sauce on the side.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 sweet potato, peeled and small diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons minced, seeded scotch bonnet or cachucha pepper, depending upon taste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound fresh callaloo leaves or spinach (about 8 cups of leaves), ribs/stems discarded, well rinsed, and sliced into long thin strips
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 cups water
In a large sauté pan, put in the olive oil and turn on medium-high heat.
Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes.
Add the sweet potato, garlic, peppers, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook stirring for 30 seconds.
Add the greens and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Add the coconut milk and the water.
Cook, stirring, until the leaves and sweet potatoes are tender and the liquid is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse, 2002, www.foodnetwork.com