Asparagus buckwheat salad

This salad is my attempt to bulk up a green salad I made for a Dr and the Chef class this past week. I'm new to buckwheat, so I must tell you that my first attempt resulted in a lump of mush that did not have the chewy bite I was first expecting. Luckily, I had bought an extra cup of groats and was able to do a do-over. The trick is to be minimal with the cooking time. A few notes on this pseudo-grain: It is a seed related to rhubarb. Although the name can be a bit misleading, it does not contain wheat, so it is naturally gluten-free. When it has been toasted, it is sold as kasha. I also learned this week that the pickling liquid from the radishes can be reused to make a couple more batches of yumminess or used as the vinegar portion of salad dressing. Hope you enjoy! The pink and green combo going on here is quite easy on the eyes. 


Asparagus buckwheat salad + pickled radishes
serves 4

1 lb asparagus, woody tips trimmed
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 cup buckwheat groats
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pickled radishes: 
1 small bunch radishes, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 TBS sea salt
1 TBS raw honey

First, make the pickled radishes. Mix together the water, vinegar, salt and honey. Stir until dissolved. Add radishes. Let sit for, at least, 1 hour in the fridge. Can be left overnight. Use within 1 week. They'll get a bit stinkier as the days go by, but will still be good. 

Drizzle asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until crisp tender. Once cool, chop into 2-inch pieces. Rinse buckwheat and drain. Bring water to a boil with salt. Add buckwheat and let simmer 10 minutes. Take off the heat and let sit 5 more minutes. Drain. To make dressing, combine lemon zest, juice and olive oil and whisk until combined. Season with salt. Combine cooked buckwheat, asparagus, hazelnuts, parsley and dressing. Toss. Top with pickled radishes. If it needs a bit of an extra kick add a little pickling liquid and more olive oil. Taste for seasoning and serve.