This simple, healthy, delicious and versatile recipe is one of our family’s favourites.
This recipe comes from my grandparents’ neighbours, back when my mother was a child and her family had moved back from Algeria to northern France.
Since it’s a very simple and cheap recipe, using ingredients that are sometimes frown upon (my grandfather would always say “I’m not a horse, I don’t eat oat”), and Roubaix is famous for being one of the poorest town in France, I had always assumed this a working-class recipe, but I recently learned that these neighbours were quite affluent. (This wouldn’t surprise my British readers who are used to sneery aristocrats explaining in a patronizing tone how they can feed a family of 8 on a 50p budget, and therefore conclude food poverty isn’t a thing.)
It’s a very versatile recipe, since you can add almost anything to a basis of oats and eggs. Here, I’ve used courgette, mushrooms and grated grana padano cheese.
I’ve also tried it with swede, broccoli, garden peas, and also bacon.
Also, I’m always onion and garlic, because a savoury dish isn’t really savoury without onion and garlic. I’ve used a hand-operated chopper for the onions and garlic, and have cut the courgette and mushrooms
I’ve done it the slow way, where I’ve cooked the vegetables, onion and garlic beforehand, rather than mixing everything together. The benefit is that the vegetables are softer, and our children don’t like the taste of undercooked garlic.
While this was cooking, I mixed eggs, salt, oat flakes (the amounts vary and I generally adjust based on the texture I need to achieve, but you can for example try 4 eggs and 150g of oat flakes) and grated cheese. If the mixture is too dry, you can add a bit of milk or buttermilk. If it’s too liquid, you can either add in more oat flakes or flour. If you’re missing eggs, I once did it with tofu that I’d purée’d in a blender, and it worked nice, so it can actually be turned into a vegan recipe.
Wait 10-15 minutes to let the oats absorb some of the humidity from the eggs, otherwise the patties can be quite brittle.
Heat a non-stick pan to medium-high heat and make patties directly in the pan. Flip the patties after a few minutes, cook until both sides are between golden and brown.
Serve with a salad on the side. My children love to eat them with Hoisin sauce, but it’s also very nice with a tahini-based sauce (tahini mixed with lemon juice, salt, garlic powder, extra virgin olive oil and water).