Bob’s Savory Oat Fritters
- Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox, Bob’s Red Mill, Portland, Oregon, USA
1 cup Steel Cut Oats
2-1/2 cups chicken broth (1 cup separate)
1/3 cup shallots (minced)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 package dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup raw Pancetta, fat removed, cut into ¼ inch
2 tbsp fresh thyme
12 to 16: 1/2-inch cubes Soft Northern Pecorino di Pienza
3 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 cups bread crumbs*
3-5 cups safflower oil for frying (enough to cover an entire ball or fill your deep fryer according to the manufacturer’s instructions).
If using a deep fryer, begin heating oil to approximately 360°F. Reconstitute mushrooms in 1 cup of heated chicken broth. Drain mushrooms, save broth for cooking. Chop mushrooms so that they are about 1/4 inch square.
In a medium-size pan, add fat scraps and raw pancetta. Cook until browned and crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a medium-size pot, heat the olive oil and cook shallots until translucent (about 1 minute). Add 2-1/2 cups chicken broth (include the one cup used for mushrooms), steel cut oats and mushrooms. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until oats drink up most of the liquid (about 15-20 minutes). When mixture has thickened and oats are cooked, remove from heat and add thyme and pancetta.
Let mixture cool until no steam is released when stirred. To speed up cooling process, place the pot of oats in an ice bath stirring constantly. When oats are warm to touch, but not hot, add 1 egg, stirring to combine. Add parmesan, stirring to combine. If using a pot of oil, rather than a deep fryer, begin heating oil to approximately 360°F. Taking three medium bowls, place unbleached white flour in the first bowl. Place two eggs and milk in second bowl and whip to combine. In the third bowl, place bread crumbs. Using wet hands, scoop 1/4 cup of oatmeal mixture into your hand, forming a ball. The mixture will be sticky and it is handy to have a bowl of water nearby to wash-up as you go. Press one piece of Pecorino into the center of the ball, forming the mixture around the cheese. Dip first in flour, second in eggs, third in bread crumbs. Place on a dry plate until ready for frying. Continue to make balls until the mixture is gone.
Depending on the size of the fryer, place as many balls as you can into the oil at once so that they lay evenly in the bottom of the basket or pot. Fry for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Continue frying until all balls are cooked. Serve with simple tomato sauce.
*To make the best bread crumbs, take one baguette of French bread and slice length-wise. Let sit out two to three days until dry or toast in oven (about 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes, just keep an eye on it to be sure it doesn’t burn). Crunch the baguette with a rolling pin or pastry blender until you have a bowl of bread crumbs that are almost uniform in size and shape. A food processor will work well, too.
Simple Tomato Sauce
1 28-ounce can San Marzano whole plum Tomatoes
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp finely minced Garlic
1/4 tsp dried Oregano
1/4 tsp crushed Red Pepper Flakes or more to taste
1 tsp Sea Salt
Black Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp finely minced fresh Parsley
In a large heated sauté pan, add the olive oil, then the garlic over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and their juices, using a spoon to break up the tomatoes. Add the salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes, and stir to combine. Turn heat to low, partially cover and allow to simmer for about an hour. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom to combine. When sauce is thick, remove from heat and add parsley. Stir to combine. Makes about 2 cups.