Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), like quinoa and amaranth, is a gluten-free pseudo grain, meaning that it’s consumed like a grain (in seed form) but does not belong to a grass family like true cereal grains (i.e., wheat, oats, barley, and rye). Buckwheat originated in Southeast Asia and is related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb. The seed is a rich source of protein, fiber, B vitamins, niacin, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus.
Buckwheat has a rich, nutty flavor and can be eaten whole (kasha), ground into flour (Breton crêpe, blinis), or made into noodles (soba, pizzoccheri). This recipe makes use of raw buckwheat groats, which are soaked overnight and then ground with milk to create a smooth batter for making crêpes. Soaking activates the sprouting process, which releases nutrients and makes the seed easier to digest. Grinding your own groats also has the added benefit of avoiding the use of flour, which, when stored, goes rancid more readily than whole seeds.
Soak the buckwheat groats in water overnight. The next day drain and rinse the buckwheat a few times with fresh water — the rinse water will be gooey, this is OK. Place the rinsed buckwheat in a blender with the milk, eggs, butter, and optional sweetener. The batter should be very thin.
Heat a nonstick or cast iron crêpe pan to medium high heat and spoon in about 1/4 cup of batter. If using a cast iron pan, add some butter to make it nonstick. Tilt and circle the pan around to distribute the batter evenly and form a very thin, round crêpe — if the batter doesn’t spread easily, add some more milk to the batter in small increments until you reach the desired consistency. When the edges start to peel up and top is dry flip and cook the other side for 30-45 seconds.
Slide the crêpes onto a plate and keep warm until you finish the batch.
For sweet crêpes top with fresh berries, whipped cream, and/or melted chocolate. Otherwise you can use any savory filling: eggs any style, sautéed spinach, and ham are traditional Breton crêpe fillings, but feel free to experiment.