Every Tuesday I look forward to the Good Food supplement in the paper. It’s a weekly ritual of mine, to sit down in a comfortable spot and read it cover to cover. There is always something of the moment and interesting to inspire me, a new restaurant, an intriguing recipe, a useful fact and this week was no exception. The caption read “Health food: Savoury granola” and that was it. In an instant I was planning dinner.
Granola is one of my favourite things. Crisp, toasted seeds and nuts with a scattering of dried fruit, served in a deep bowl with a generous dousing of icy cold milk. There are a myriad of fantastic recipes out there and these are some of my favourites; simple, tropical, chocolate and rose petal. In my mind, granola must be eaten straight away, as left to swim in the milk, it goes soggy and looses all of its noisy, crunchy appeal. But savoury granola. Hell yes. Something I love with a different slant. The article paired the savoury granola with eggs and hummus, but this spoke a little too much of breakfast to me and I wanted a dinner idea.
My train of thought to arrive at roast chicken went something like this. Crunch needs to go with something soft. Meat is soft. What nuts stand out the most. Almonds. What do almonds go with. Almonds go with chicken. Almonds go with beans. Roast chicken goes with crunchy roast potatoes. Replace potatoes with nuts. Serve with beans and broccoli. Hey presto.
The recipe below is extremely simple, yet endlessly versatile. I added sumac and cloves just because I thought that the lemony sumac would go well with the chicken and I picked ground cloves, well, because they were in the pantry and appealed to me on a slightly cool summer night. There are no hard and fast rules. For example, you could add cumin and chilli flakes and serve the resulting savoury granola with roast lamb and yoghurt. Or use cardamom and allspice and sprinkle the nutty mixture over roast pumpkin wedges with a tahini dressing. I love the concept of a savoury, textural topping for meals. Have fun experimenting.
From a recipe in the SMH
- 1 small egg white
- 50g rolled oats
- 100g sunflower seeds
- 100g pine nuts
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 50g almonds
- 50g pistachios
- 1 tbsp sumac
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly beat the egg white in a large bowl until frothy.
2. Add all the other ingredients to the bowl with the white and mix well to coat.
3. Spread the mixture on to a large shallow sided baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Be sure to rotate the mixture with a spatula after the first 10 minutes so that it bakes evenly.
Enjoy. The remaining mixture can be stored in a tightly sealed container for two weeks.
Alternatives to sumac and cloves could be curry powder, turmeric, cumin, fennel seeds, dried chilli flakes, allspice and cardamom. Substitute nuts and seeds in similar quantities and have some fun.