I was happily surprised to discover that kasha, commonly known as buckwheat groats, pairs well with something besides bow-tie pasta. My grandmother used to make kasha varnishkes, a traditional dish that combines the kasha, pasta, mushrooms and caramelized onions.
For me the mixture is a little heavy, so I decided to take what I liked best about Nana's creation the onions and kasha -- and pair them with potatoes instead. I added a good dose of vinegar and chopped parsley. Now I'm hooked on the result.
Use the freshest potatoes you can find. As the summer progresses, locally grown potatoes will show up at farmers markets. Such potatoes have a better taste and texture.
Kasha Potato Salad
1 1/2 pounds new or locally grown potatoes
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped ( 3/4 cup)
1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
1/2 cup coarse kasha (buckwheat groats)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 cup water
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the potatoes in a medium pot; cover with cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the end of a metal skewer glides easily through each potato. Depending on the size of the potato, this will take 15 to 20 minutes. The potatoes should be tender throughout but not overcooked, so watch them closely.
Meanwhile, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/8 teaspoon of salt; cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and just beginning to brown.
Combine the kasha and egg white in a mixing bowl, stirring to ensure that all the kernels are coated.
Add the kasha to the saucepan with the onion; cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the grains are separate and appear dry. Pour in the water; increase the heat as needed and bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce the heat to medium or medium-low, so the liquid in the saucepan is barely bubbling. Cook for 8 to 11 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl.
When the potatoes are done, drain and set aside until they are cool enough to handle. Peel each one and cut into 3/4 -inch chunks. Add the potatoes to the kasha.
Whisk together 3 tablespoons of the parsley, the vinegar and the remaining of oil in a liquid measuring cup to form an emulsified dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour it over the potatoes and kasha, gently tossing to incorporate.
Transfer to a serving bowl; sprinkle remaining tablespoon of parsley on top. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes 8 servings).
Per serving: 130 calories, 2g protein, 17g carbohydrates, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, nocholesterol, 160mg sodium, 3g dietary fiber, 1g sugar.