A friend of mine asked me for ideas on how to make a savory oatmeal without it turning into a “goopy disaster.” Well, why the hell not, I said to myself. So I decided to try it the next morning with whatever I had on hand (I always have oatmeal in the pantry…for cookies. I don’t know why else I would always have it ready to go).
Truth be told I actually love oatmeal, but usually I’m not the slightest bit hungry in the morning so I just have my espresso… and then another and another and I begin my day at the office (by office I of course mean working from home at my kitchen counter in my PJs). The idea of a savory oatmeal was inspiring, but it didn’t sound too appealing on its own so I decided to whip up some eggs to go with it.
Oatmeal is a grain that develops starch as it cooks, much like risotto (but much faster). And that’s it. It’s up to you where you want to go from there. You should simply consider oatmeal as the starch portion of your breakfast and work from there. Topping it with a sunny-side up egg, a little olive oil, and some fresh scallions would be delicious. Stir in some good sausages for a heartier meal. Experiment a little and I’m sure you can come up with something delicious. I had eggs, thyme, and goat cheese in my fridge, so I decided to use those. It came out great.
A note on oatmeal: while I must say I use oatmeal more for cookies than for breakfast, when I do make it in the morning I make it in the microwave. I know, I know, I seem far too stuck up to ever cook something in the microwave, but I have cooked oatmeal many times and it always cooks best and most evenly when it is cooked in the microwave. I use old fashioned rolled oats with almost twice the amount of water as oatmeal, by volume, and cook it for two minutes and 45 seconds. It will come out perfect every time. Just make sure you let it cool for a minute before eating because it needs that time to soak up the rest of the water.
A note on eggs: I highly recommend buying organic eggs, especially if you are cooking them to eat straight (as opposed to baking with them). My absolute favorite are the Country Hen brand of eggs. I know they are more expensive, but if you’re going to buy anything organic it should be your eggs because they have by far the greatest difference between conventional and organic. Organic eggs are much more flavorful and are usually fresher, so for $2 more you can have a significantly better meal, times 6 (assuming 2 eggs plus a side makes a meal).
Oatmeal with Thyme, Goat Cheese, and Sunny Eggs
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup water
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp chopped thyme (or just picked and pressed in the palm of your hand, if you’re in a hurry), plus extra for garnish
1 tbsp butter
Goat cheese (optional)
Preheat the broiler (if electric) to high and move a baking rack to the top shelf. If your broiler is gas, it does not need to be turned on in advance.
Combine the oatmeal, water, salt, and thyme in a small bowl and cook on high in the microwave for 2 minutes and 45 seconds. In the meantime heat the butter in a small, oven-proof saute pan on the stove. Carefully crack the eggs into a small bowl to keep the yolks in tact. Once the butter just starts to bubble add the eggs and transfer the saute pan to the oven on the top rack. Cook 4 minutes.
When the oatmeal finishes cooking, remove it from the microwave, stir to make sure all the ingredients are evenly combined, and taste for seasonings. If it tastes very bland add a little more salt.
When the eggs are finished remove them from the oven and immediately transfer them to your plate so they don’t overcook. Add the oatmeal and crumble goat cheese over the eggs and oatmeal. Sprinkle on a little fleur de sel, or kosher salt, on the eggs and serve.