This recipe for kasha features buckwheat groats that are lightly toasted and then cooked into a nutty porridge with wilted bitter greens and Parmesan and topped with a fried egg and toasted hazelnuts.
It hits me in the shower, standing under the showerhead with water streaming down my shoulders and steam rising around me. The window, covered in plastic to keep out the winter cold as much as to protect its wood frame from the water, is frosted. As I turn to reach for the bottle of shampoo, goose bumps instantly find purchase on my arms.
Our furnace refuses to run. The light click followed by the satisfying burst of air that signals all is well in the bowels of our home has ceased. The warm air pushed through floor vents that we often take for granted is no more.
The morning routine is interrupted as each task is followed by my daughter crawling back into bed and drawing the covers up around her neck, complaining of the cold, and it is cold. With the wind whipping outside and continued below-zero temperatures, the midcentury construction and cracked foundation of our home fails to keep out the chill.
Bowls of what my husband refers to as “cold cereal” will not do. The thought of creamy, cool yogurt and crunchy clusters of granola layered with bright bits of fruit holds no appeal today. I set water to boiling for the French press, sticking my nose in the fragrant grounds and breathing deep before measuring them out. Opening the cupboard I stare at the rolled oats, the steel-cut oats, the rice behind them, the solitary bag of kamut threatening to fall forward towards me, and then my eyes settle on the buckwheat groats, their green-hued, bulbous, pyramid-like selves a contrast against the others. My hand finds their jar, as well as the dark-skinned hazelnuts that reside next to them.
Water and groats are measured and placed over a second burner, and for an instant I consider my options as I stand in slippered feet as close as possible to the lit stove, attempting to catch its warmth. I place a pinch of salt in with the groats before reaching for the frying pan.
In a few minutes’ time, greens are sautéed and eggs are set to frying. I peel long, thin slices of nutty parmesan from a wedge in between cracking eggs and slowly pouring water over coffee grounds, watching as they froth and bloom. I stir the parmesan into the porridge just before spooning out generous helpings into the waiting bowls, tossing an egg on each and then lightly toasting the hazelnuts in the remaining oil before adding those as well.
The kids arrive, guided by their noses, dressed in layers and with blankets around their shoulders. They hunker over their meal, spooning warm bites with one hand, clutching the corners of their respective capes with the other.
No one even attempts to go without their winter coat zipped to the top as they bundle up for school, gloves pulled over chilled fingers, hats pulled low. It’s time to greet the day.
Kasha Buckwheat Porridge with Toasted Hazelnuts, Bitter Greens, and Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 cup buckwheat groats
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup baby bitter greens (kale, chard, spinach)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan
- 2 tablespoons hazelnuts
- Salt and cracked black pepper
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Pour in the groats and cook, stirring frequently, until toasted. Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes.
- While the groats are cooking, in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Stir in the garlic, followed by the greens. Cook just until wilted, then stir the greens into the groats in the saucepan.
- Add the oil to the remaining butter to the frying pan. Reduce heat to medium and add the eggs. Spoon oil over the tops of the eggs for sunny-side up, or cook as desired.
- Stir the parmesan into the cooked groats and greens, and then spoon the porridge into two bowls. Top each bowl with an egg.
- Lightly toast the hazelnuts in the remaining oil in the frying pan just until they begin to brown. Add over the tops of the bowls, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.