Tom Hunt’s cherry and buckwheat tabbouleh
Perennial, sweet, ruby-red cherries have a subtle acidity that works well mixed with deep savoury flavours. Their season lasts just a few weeks, so make the most of them during this time by including them in all sorts of dishes – both sweet and savoury. Usually tomatoes are used to make tabbouleh, but I’ve switched them for cherries in this version, which makes for an interesting and delicious alternative that is sweet, sour and juicy. They come into season just before tomatoes – grown without heated greenhouses – making them a good seasonal alternative, whilst we wait for the best tomatoes.
Buckwheat is a nutritious and gluten-free alternative to standard grains like wheat or barley. It has a short growing season, ready to harvest in just 8–12 weeks, and grows well in poor soil, attracting pollinators and beneficial insects. It can be planted between crops in a rotation system to improve the soil by reducing weeds, preventing soil erosion and nutrient loss. It has a nutty flavour that works well in salads when mixed with fresh vegetables, or it can be made into flour perfect for making pastry and pancakes. In this recipe, the buckwheat is soaked and then toasted, which makes it crunchy, accentuating its unique rounded nutty flavour.
Serves 4 as a side salad, 2 as a light meal
300g cherries, stones removed, quartered (or cherry tomatoes)
2 spring onions, finely sliced top to tail
4 radishes, thoroughly washed, roots and leaves finely sliced
50g cucumber, cut into small–medium dice
40g parsley, leaves roughly chopped, stalks finely chopped
1 tbsp date syrup, or other sweetener
¼ unwaxed lemon, zest and juice
1 Place the buckwheat in a bowl and cover with a generous amount of cold water. Set aside to soak for 20 minutes, and then drain. Tip into a dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the kernels become crunchy. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
2 Place the toasted buckwheat in a serving bowl, add all of the other ingredients and toss well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Find Tom’s interview on zero-waste cooking in the October issue of healthy, out 18 September.