A SPECIAL PREVIEW FROM "AT HOME WITH UMAMI" | 2015 • Ryland, Peters & SmallI call enoki mushrooms, 'catwalk mushrooms' because their physical elegance and subtle flavour is all that you might expect to see in a modern art gallery or on a contemporary runway. They are truly a thing of wonder and this clean salad is the perfect backdrop for their understated elegance. For the ultimate in refined deliciousness, replace the salad leaves with steamed white asparagus when in season.
175 g / 1 cup buckwheat groats
8 spring onions/ scallions, thinly sliced
1 bunch of chives, finely snipped or red shiso leaves (hard to find but delicious!)
400 g / 6 cups enoki mushrooms (firm & white, avoid slimy or brownish stalks, unless using golden enoki which also be firm and not slimy)
4 generous handfuls mixed salad leaves (lamb's lettuce works best), or 8 white asparagus spears, steamed
2 tablespoons furikake (dry Japanese seasoning) or toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes
2.5 cm / 1 in. piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
2-3 tablespoons runny honey (or to taste)
good pinch of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Rinse the buckwheat before cooking.
Place buckweat into a saucepan with 500 ml / 2 cups water and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Cook until al denta, drain if necessary and then refresh under cold water to get ride of any starchiness.
Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the spring onion / scallion and chives and leave to sit for 10 minutes if you have time.
Place the mushrooms and buckwheat in a bowl and add two-thirds of the vinaigrette. Gently combine until all the ingredients are coated.
Place a handful of salad leaves or the steamed asparagus on each plate and top wit the buckwheat mushroom mixture.
Sprinkle about half a teaspon of the furikake or toasted sesame seeds on each plate and drizzle with the remaining dressing.