Toasted buckwheat, blistered grape and herb salad with cumin-spiced dressing

Toasted buckwheat, blistered grape and herb salad.
Toasted buckwheat, blistered grape and herb salad. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Dietary
Vegetarian

Grapes add an unexpected but welcome burst of sweet to the nutty grains and smoky cumin dressing. This salad also withstands a bit of sitting time.

Ingredients

370g (2 cups) buckwheat

1 ½ cups red grapes

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp pomegranate molasses

½ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

¾ cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped

½ cup coarsely torn basil leaves

½ cup marjoram, leaves picked, finely chopped

½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

½ cup watercress, leaves roughly picked

a few lemon-thyme leaves to scatter

Dressing

2 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted, roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tbsp honey

6 tbsp olive oil

Method

1. Place the buckwheat in a frying pan and toast over medium heat until lightly browned and the buckwheat is taking on a nutty aroma. Remove and allow to cool.

2. Rinse buckwheat well under cold running water, drain and cook in boiling salted water until just tender (8-10 minutes). Drain, refresh under cold running water and transfer to a tray to cool to room temperature.

3. Once cooled, add the buckwheat to a large bowl, and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the smoked almonds, herbs and watercress and toss gently to combine.

4. Return the frypan to the heat and add the olive oil. Once sizzling, add the grapes and cook, shaking the pan regularly until you see the grapes start to blister. At this point add the pomegranate molasses and cook until they look coated and shiny. You don't want to burn the sugar in the grapes or the pomegranate molasses so no longer than 45 seconds.

5. Remove and pour straight over the buckwheat mixture. Toss gently to combine.

6. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly.

7. Pour dressing over the salad and toss again. The buckwheat can really absorb the dressing, so let it rest for a minute or so and, if necessary, drizzle over a little extra olive oil. Season generously and serve.