Matt Cox is marketing director of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, headquartered in Milwaukie, Ore.
Bob's Savory Oat Fritters Recipe
Award-winning Oat Fritter recipeuser rating
At October’s annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship, in Carrbridge, Scotland, Matt Cox—marketing director of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, and last year’s World’s Best Oats and World Porridge Making Champion—prepared Bob’s Savory Oat Fritters. The recipe combines porcini mushrooms, pancetta, Pecorino and Parmesan cheeses and oats served with a tomato dipping sauce, and is a modern interpretation of the classic Italian street food arancini. Cox substitutes oats for the Arborio rice typically used in this dish.—Denise Shoukas
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill World Champion Steel Cut Oats (or other steel cut oats if Bob’s are unavailable)
2 ½ cups chicken broth (1 cup separate)
1/3 cup shallots, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup raw pancetta, fat removed, cut into 1/4 inch, about the size of a bean or a kernel of fresh corn (save two or three scraps of fat for cooking)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
12 to 16 half-inch cubes soft northern pecorino (di Penza), Gruyère or your favorite soft flavorful melting cheese
3 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 ½ cups unbleached white flour
2 cups bread crumbs*
3 to 5 cups safflower oil for frying (enough to cover an entire ball or fill your deep fryer according to the manufacturer’s instructions)
*To make 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, keeping 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 breadcrumbs that are almost uniform in size and shape. A food processor will work well, too.Method:
1. If using a deep fryer, begin heating oil to approximately 360°F.
2. Reconstitute mushrooms in 1 cup of heated chicken broth. Drain mushrooms, save broth for cooking. Chop mushrooms so that they are about ¼-inch square.
3. 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.
4. In a medium-size pot, heat olive oil and cook shallots until translucent (about 1 minute). Add 2 ½ 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.
5. 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 instead of a deep fryer, begin heating oil to approximately 360°F.
6. 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.
7. Using wet hands, scoop 1/4 cup of oatmeal mixture into your hand, forming a ball. It is handy to have a bowl of water nearby to wash up as you go, as the mixture will be sticky. Press one piece of Pecorino into the center of the ball, forming the mixture around the cheese. Dip first in flour, then in egg mixture, then in bread crumbs. Place on a dry plate until ready for frying. Continue to make balls until the mixture is gone.
8. Depending on the size of the fryer, place as many balls as will fit 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.
9. Serve with simple tomato sauce (Recipe: Simple Tomato Sauce) or your favorite tomato sauce.