Midnight Special

Over a year ago, I became a full -fledged Bob’s Red Millgroupie while attending a millet cooking class at their store in Milwaukie, Oregon. Not only was the class fun and informative, the level of employee pride was infectious. I was immediately caught up in their enthusiasm ― and amazed by the line of products that they produce and sell. I was smitten.

Bob’s Red Mill is a Pacific Northwest producer of whole grains and other natural products.  Bob Moore’s vision of quality and innovation created an industry model and when he got ready to retire a few years back, the employees took over operations and have continued to maintain Bob’s high standards and attention to detail.   

The Bob’s Red Mill Blog  is also a great resource for preparing popular as well as lesser known grains and seeds such as amaranth and teff. Since the millet class I’ve tried many of Bob’s other products, but the hearty and nutty steel cut oats remain a favorite.
When Bob’s third annual Spar for the Spurtle contest was announced on their blog not too long ago, I was immediately intrigued. This competition is a precursor to the international event held in Scotland, where it is all about preparing the perfect porridge.  In fact, the spurtle refers to an ancient wooden rod originally used to stir oats into submission and affect the perfect porridge. 
In the US competition Bob’s only requires that steel cut oats are used as the main ingredient; which greatly opens up the field of play.  However, there are still a few other tricky caveats:  the dish must be prepared on only two burners, use no other appliances, and must be completed within 30 minutes.  (Note:  the oats require between 10-20 minutes cooking time.)    

For the past two weeks I have been committed to solving this rubix cube ― as well as creating a tasty and attractive entry.  Wait, there was one other requirement:  submit a three-minute video on the recipe.  Of course, this is presented in such an off-handed manner:  “a simple video from your smart phone will do”.  How hard could that be?   

I will not bore you with the recipe development,  my foray into filming, or the crash course in video editing.  Suffice to say, I submitted my less than professional two-minute version on time (this past Monday’s deadline) and very glad to have it all behind me. 

Happily, I am still not tired of the tasting the fantastic Country Oat Hash―nested with a perfectly cooked egg and a zingy lemon-mustard sauce. The oats shine in taste and texture, yet are fully complemented by onions, carrots and mushrooms; all are punctuated by a balanced assortment of  fresh herbs (or dried fines herbes) and exotic spices (or four-spice blend).  In 30 minutes, I also pull off the perfect egg mollet―a firm-cooked egg with a moist center― as well as a zingy lemon-mustard sauce that brings everything to life. 
It’s my Midnight Special; but it is equally good any time of the day, and definitely special enough for friends.  Try it―I think you’ll like.  

Country Oat Hash Nested with Egg and Lemon-Mustard Sauce

Country Oat Hash  
Ingredients
 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats, presoaked 10 minutes in boiling water and drained
 2 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1½ cups mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp. four spice or ¼ tsp. each nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cayenne
½ tsp. each salt and black pepper
1½ tsp. fines herbes, or 1 tsp. each fresh thyme, marjoram, savory and sage
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, on finish
Instructions 
1.       Toast the oats in a non-stick skillet for 3  minutes.
2.       In deep skillet, sauté onion in 1 Tbsp. butter; add carrot, the spices, and cook 3 minutes.
3.       Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook to release the liquid.
4.       Still in the toasted oats with 1 Tbsp. butter, and then the herbs. Cook the hash over moderate heat 3-4 minutes; lower heat slightly, cover and cook 3-4 minutes longer, until the oats are gently cooked.  Stir in the parsley, remove from heat, keep covered and let rest until eggs are ready. 

To Prepare Egg Mollet
Ingredients
4 eggs, room temperature
3 cups water, or enough to cover eggs 

Instructions
1.       Bring the eggs and water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 3½ to 4 minutes.  Drain. 
2.       Rinse eggs with cold water and set in ice water bath to stop the cooking.  Let rest 5 minutes.
3.       Crack the eggs and gently peel under cold tap water.
4.       Hold in warm water bath. 
 
Lemon-Mustard Sauce
Ingredients
1 tsp. lemon and ½ tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. brown mustard
2 tsp. stone ground mustard
¼ tsp. each salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup plain yogurt 
Instructions 
1.       Combine all through salt and pepper and whisk in oil to form an emulsion. 
2.       Fold into yogurt and let stand at least 10 minutes to blend flavors.
When ready, on medium-sized plates mound each with a heaping cup of Country Oat Hash and make a deep indentation in the center.  Set a warm peeled egg mollet into each oat hash nest, drape a portion of the egg with the Lemon-Mustard Sauce and dab additional around the edges of the hash. Serves 4. 

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