This past weekend we hosted some friends in from out of town. I wanted to treat them to a lovely homemade breakfast which included one of my favorite Cincinnati foods, goetta. What is goetta? It is a German peasant type of sausage that consists of primary pork, pinhead oats, onions, and seasonings like sage and bay leaf. Slicing and pan frying goetta is the best means of preparation that yields a crisp outside with the inside remaining tender. Each of the German (immigrants from the late 1800's) butchers in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky created their own recipe, and still do to this day. Goetta is unique to only Cincinnati (proper), Newport & Covington, KY. The Cincy northern suburbanites are usually oblivious to the existance of goetta. Upon my Celiac diagnosis, I mourned for the loss of goetta. Since the presence of gluten is "controversial" in oats. After about 6 months of a strict gluten free diet, I learned that my body could not tolerate "gluten free oats", and yet I had no problem with the pinhead oats in goetta. How was this possible? Was this a Cincinnati miracle? I figured an investigation was necessary. I asked my favorite goetta artisan, Bob Lillis of Eckerlin Meats at Findlay Market, how they process their oats. He told me, "not much processing is involved. We process the oats as animal feed." Works for me!
The other treat I wanted to make were 1-eyed sailors, as my mom would call them. There are a number of names for this, where you cut a hole in the center of the slice of bread and fry an egg in it. I found another good GF bread at Whole Foods, Kinnikinnick Brown Sandwich Bread, to use for this sort of breakfast treat and it works great. I thought I would be clever and use 3 quail eggs instead of 1 chicken egg. Well, I couldn't call it a 3-eyed sailor. One of my visiting friends, originally from Liverpool, said that in England they would call these a "toad in a hole". "Tiny toads in a hole" seemed to be a perfect name for what I was making. Yum, so good! Crisp and savory goetta is a perfect complement to fried eggs in toast. Quail eggs and brown bread make it a little more special, too. Especially when this breakfast is both gluten free and milk free.