After my recent celebratory write-ups for the French Fridays with Dorie group, I thought that it would be a good time to post one of my personal recipes again. My recipe is for fairly simple „nibbles“ flavored with lovely cheese and for that summery Mediterranean flavor, some chopped fresh herbs from the garden.
As far as the cheese is concerned, my first choice for these is Pecorino Romano but any well-flavored cheese with a similar texture like a Parmigiano Reggiano, the well-known fruity flavored cheese with a peppery after-taste, will perform equally well here. Pecorino is made from ewe's milk and is a sharp, salty-flavored cheese. It tends to be widely available, is hard like Parmesan and grates well.
Then, for the chopped fresh herbs from the garden I like to use rosemary and lemon thyme. The combination of piney rosemary and lemon thyme with its thyme flavor along with a subtle essence of lemon is amazing here but regular thyme and a bit of organic lemon zest will be a nice substitute. I love those herbs that grow so abundantly in our garden these days and they add such a lovely aromatic flavor to these nibbles when you bite into them.
These nibbles are very simple to make – place your oats, wheat flour, baking powder, and sea salt in a bowl, add the finely chopped fresh herbs and your grated cheese, then some water to make the dough. Then spread it best you can in your prepared baking pan and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool and cut into triangles or fingers. Done. There is only one thing to remember really here - make sure to strip the rosemary needles as well as the lemon thyme leaves off their little branches before you start chopping away and before you measure them.
They are really nice on their own, not too filling at all and with a pleasant oat, cheese and herb flavor. Perhaps the best way to describe them is like a tender version of oats cakes . They go well as a simple accompaniment to fresh yellow, orange and red cherry tomatoes (go for a variety here if you can), but they are also great to serve alongside some seasonal fruits – actually we think they go particularly well with an assortment of naturally sweet melons, such as Cantaloupe or honeydew melon.
Now, these are as simple as it gets, with just seven ingredients. And they are made from readily available ingredients and are ready for baking in minutes. So give them a try and let me know how they turned out for you.
You could also try adding a pinch of ready made herb salt for variety – then leave out the freshly chopped herbs. Often we get these herb salts as gifts or pick them up at the country fair and oftentimes they linger in our cupboards – this would be a perfect recipe to let your herb salts star in a leading role.
Cheesy Oat Nibbles with fresh Herbs
- 100 grams coarse oatmeal
- 50 grams wheat (plain flour), plus extra for dusting the pan NOTE: you can also use spelt flour here
- 9 grams (1/2) teaspoon baking powder
- 2 gram fine sea salt
- 60 grams finely grated hard cheese such as Pecorino Romano (or use Parmigiano Reggiano)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary and lemon thyme (or use regular thyme plus some grated organic lemon zest)
- 150 grams water, room temperature
- a bit of butter for brushing the baking pan
- a quiche or tart pan with removable bottom (about 24 to 28 cm)
- some baking parchment
- Butter the bottom of your quiche pan. Line with baking parchment, butter some more and flour – tap out the excess flour. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix the oatmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
- Stir in the finely grated cheese, the finely chopped herbs and the water – you will have a soft, sticky dough.
- Preheat the oven to 180°Celsius (355°Fahrenheit).
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and spread the dough into an equal layer – this is best done using an offset spatula that you lightly moistened with water to prevent the dough from sticking to it.
- Bake the dough round for about 25 to 30 minutes until golden. Transfer to a wire rack.
- Let cool for a few minutes. Take the dough round out of the baking pan and transfer to a cutting board. Then using a serrated knife or a pizza wheel, cut into equal servings such as fingers or triangles.
- Enjoy while warm or let cool completely. NOTE: These nibbles are best eaten the day they are made but if you have any left over, place them in a cookie tin and line the layers with parchment paper to keep them from sticking. Keep for a day or two in a cool, dry place and re-heat slightly before serving if you want to serve them warm
We just love these nibbles. The herbs plus the grated cheese are much beloved and familiar Mediterranean flavors - your kitchen will small amazing while they are baking.
Baking these in a tart pan and cutting them into triangles (if you are using a round tart pan) or fingers (if you are using a square or rectangular tart pan) makes them a little bit more refined.
They truly are a cinch to make and perfect to nibble on with some seasonal veggies or fruits on the side or even with a drink while the real star of your dinner is in the oven.