There are some Jewish classics that I grew up with that I adore, mostly things that my family would order at places like the long-gone Rascal House in North Miami Beach,where my great-grandmother (who I was lucky enough to know as a child) lived. Family favorites included mushroom and barley soup, kasha knishes eaten with lots of mustard,and eggs scrambled with bits of crispy kosher salami. This dish, a mash-up of all of those, is almost like Jewish fried rice. It could be served as a side dish or be topped with fried eggs for a complete meal (maybe with a little salad next to it to offset its richness). The small victory here is all about the cooking of the kasha—coating it in beaten egg and toasting it before adding liquid is like giving each grain it sown little blanket and keeps the kasha from becoming extremely mushy (as it’s prone to do).
1/4 cup [60 ml] sour cream 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp water
A small handful of finely chopped fresh dill Kosher salt
1 cup [180 g] kasha (sometimes labeled buckwheat groats)
4 Tbsp [60 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
11/2 cups [360 ml] chicken stock or water 1 tsp carawayseeds
6 oz [170 g] kosher beef salami (preferably Hebrew National), diced 12 oz [340 g] cremini mushrooms, tough stems trimmed off, thinly sliced
In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mustard,vinegar, water, and dill. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
In a small bowl, beat the egg. Add the kasha and stir to combine.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbsp of the olive oil. Add the egg-coated kasha and cook, stirring, until the pan is dry and the kasha smells nutty, about 2 minutes.Add the chicken stock, along with a large pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer the kasha until it’s tender, about 10 minutes. Turnoff the heat, put a paper towel between the pan and the lid(to absorb the excess steam), and set the kasha aside.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add the caraway seeds and salami and cook, stirring, until the caraway seeds smell fragrant and the salami is crisp, about 5 minutes.
Add the mushrooms to the pan and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt. (If your pan isn’t big enough to hold them all in a single layer, cook in batches, or you’ll end up with steamed mushrooms—which aren’t that wonderful.) Cook,stirring now and then, until the mushrooms are softened and a bit browned and any liquid that they released has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Add the kasha to the mushrooms, stir everything together,and season to taste with salt.
Transfer the kasha to a serving bowl and drizzle the sour cream mixture over it. Serve immediately.
FOR ANOTHER CLASSIC JEWISH COMBINATION, mix together barley and mushrooms. I like to warm left overcooked barley in butter and add the sautéed mushrooms from this dish or roasted mushrooms . A little chopped parsley or dill wouldn’t hurt here.
FOR A GREAT FALL DISH, warm cooked kasha in a skillet with olive oil and garlic and add diced roasted root vegetables.
FOR A SORT OF ’80S RIFF ON FRIED RICE, warm leftover cooked wild rice in a skillet with butter and add chopped roasted hazelnuts and dried cranberries. Serve dotted with goat cheese.