What is it?
You know breakfast granola, right? Well, this is it's lunch and dinner cousin; rubbly little clusters of grains, nuts and seeds with the same instant, feel-good crunch. It popped up in American Saveur magazine's 2011 top 100 food trends issue and has slowly gained kitchen traction since. But here's the thing – savoury granola has none of the oil used in most breakfast granolas. Instead, it's bound by little more than beaten egg white, which bakes into a crisp, light snap. Genius.
Where is it?
At Melbourne's fun-in-a-bun neo-burger joint Rockwell & Sons, chef Casey Wall started with a pork crackling and bacon granola (oh wow), before settling on a healthier nut, seed, grain and cayenne pepper mix to go with slow-cooked beetroot and creamy goat's curd. "We add caraway seeds, a traditional accompaniment to beetroot," he says, "and cayenne pepper, because we pretty much use cayenne pepper in everything."
In Canberra, locals gather at the Mocan & Green Grout's squeezy little kitchen bar to watch chef Diego Arata scatter savoury granola over avocado on toast, then shower it with radish, nasturtium leaves, lemon verbena and edible flowers. Arata credits head chef Sean McConnell with the idea. "We wanted something good for vegetarians and vegans," he says. "Now everyone loves it and I have to make up to 12 kilograms of it a week." He first roasts raw oats with honey and olive oil, then blends them with fennel seeds, sunflower and pepita seeds, puffed rice, puffed quinoa and puffed mustard seeds. "It comes across as savoury rather than sweet because we finish it with crushed dried seaweed and shichimi togarashi (Japan's addictive seven-spice mix)," he says. Double genius.
Why do I care?
Because it adds crunch and fibre to everything in sight, from superfood salads to soups, hummus, eggs and grilled flatbreads.
Can I do it at home?
Too easy. Here's the base recipe, now mix it up with different nuts and seeds, puffed rice or quinoa, dried chillies, spices, seaweed, or curry powder.
1 small egg white
50g rolled oats
100g sunflower seeds
100g pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 tbsp sesame seeds
100g almonds or pistachios, chopped
1 tbsp cumin or fennel seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1. Heat the oven to 180C. Lightly beat the egg white in a large bowl until frothy.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well to coat.
3. Spread the mixture out on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, giving it a good shoosh around after the first 10 minutes.
4. Cool completely, and store in an air-tight jar for up to two weeks.
Makes 400 grams
VIC Rockwell & Sons, 288 Smith Street, Collingwood 03 8415 0700 rockwellandsons.com.au
ACT Mocan & Green Grout, 19 Marcus Clarke Street, NewActon South, Canberra 02 6162 2909 mocanandgreengrout.com