Sunday, March 27, 2011

Breakfast #36: Savory Oatmeal

title
I have been thinking about summer breakfasts lately. How could I not with the sun blazing and the mercury rising as it is nowadays? Despite the heat (and my sunburn…when will I ever learn??) and my love/hate relationship with the mornings, the season’s buoyant personality seems to be cheering me on. And I’m determined to have breakfasts that are just as bright and sunny.

But that will have to wait until I’m done with this.

This is not the most summery of breakfasts but I have been seeing this all over and, as a lover of both breakfast and oatmeal, I had to try it and couldn’t wait. A good friend I met though blogging alerted me to this intriguing version and it’s been on my mind ever since. So despite the sun streaming its rays of Pollyanna through my window and the optimistic patch of blue sky I see from my window, I set about creating my first ever bowl of savory oatmeal.

The idea isn’t as novel as one would think. In some cultures oatmeal is savory, enjoyed with a pat of butter and some salt. We, of all people, shouldn’t raise an eyebrow. Over here, we have chocolate rice pudding (champorado) with dried salted fish – now that’s a combination you don’t see every day. On the whole though, oatmeal has always leaned more decidedly towards sweet preparations. So for me the idea of it was new and luscious and very enticing.

For this my first foray, I wanted to stick to the basics: good olive oil, flaky sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and shavings of parmesan cheese. I was sorely (sorely!) tempted to add a fried egg but I held myself back. (Time enough for that later.)

This is hardly a recipe, and really, I suggest you go with your favorite basic recipe for oatmeal (I usually go with 1/2 cup of oats and 1 1/2 cup of water -- this will make me two servings). I used steel cut oats here because I felt the texture would lend itself well to savory preparation (although I am sure rolled oats would be good as well). What is key here is that you use the best possible ingredients you can find. I know, when is that ever not key right? Well, in this case more than others as there are so few ingredients so each is a major player. Now place one serving of hot oatmeal in your favorite cuddle bowl. Top with a couple of swirls of olive oil, a sprinkling of sea salt flakes, a grinding of black pepper, and generous shavings of parmesan cheese. Now tuck in and prepare to be converted. I suggest keeping the condiments near because you may want to adjust as you work through you bowl. I definitely like adding more parmesan at some point.

This is really all that they say it is. It is silky in a way regular oatmeal hardly is. It feels decadent when it is in fact so simple. And the sudden bits of saltiness cutting through the creamy oatmeal feels at once pleasantly confusing and, as Golidilock said, just right. I’ll be making this again. Yes, even if it’s summer. I’m still thinking of that fried egg…and maybe some browned butter.

Don’t worry. I won't be spending the whole summer churning out oatmeal on the stovetop. We just got a box of our favorite mangoes so those summer breakfasts will be making their appearance here soon!

UPDATE: If you can't decide between sweet or savory why not try both? Honey bacon steel cut oats :)

30 comments:

heidi said...

Well, I will keep this suggestion as that, a suggestion, I have never tried my oatmeal on a savory way.

But never say never...

Now, mangoes. Oh Dios. I love them. Do you know what´s funny, in my country the best variety is the Mango Manila :) .

Oh, and we also have champurrado, but is totally sweet, is made with masa harina (corn flour) and chocolate. The texture is very similar to congee.

pam said...

this reminds me of my childhood, when i used to eat oatmeal with Cheez Whiz :P now i can try a more grown up version with parmesan

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe/idea. Oatmeal is such a fabulous way to have breakfast, and I love that it is versitale and you've just proven

HectorFeliciano said...

I have never tried oatmeal on a savory way, but it looks like a good recipe to try. @Heidi, what country are you from? We also have Mango Manila in my country and it is delicious!!! I actually do not enjoy the mango here in america as much cuz i am so used to the mango back at home!

Back to the Savory Oatmeal, oatmeal is a great way to start your day. There are so many benefits to oatmeal, btw try to add a spoon of honey to it each morning and you will feel more energized!

Gattina Cheung said...

I am amased how could you hold back a fried egg :):) We although deep-root with oatmeal sweeten with condense milk (and egg :):) your version is totally shine and divine!!! Jo, you are great!

Didi said...

savory oatmeal...now that sounded a bit strange but intrigued me all the more. I think I like a sweet and savory oatmeal kind of like champorado with tuyo / longganisa / tapa :) any suggestions?

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Thta savory way of preparing oatmeal is fabulous! I love the idea.

Cheers,

Rosa

3748 MILES said...

I've been at this recently too! I did oatmeal cheese and a fried egg! It's something really new and interesting! Next thing on my list would be to make oatmeal cakes! Somewhat like pancakes minus the flour!:)

Midge said...

This is like a childhood flashback - only what I remember is a mixture of oatmeal and pearl barley cooked like congee in chicken broth!

Katrina said...

Yay, you finally did it! Doesn't it just open your eyes to a whole new way of enjoying oatmeal, and make you excited to try it with other ingredients?! :-) After I first had it, I had savory oatmeal for dinner three times in one week, so that I could experiment. So far, my favorite was with butter, a fried egg, and parmesan. REALLY decadent-tasting, with the runny yolk and butter giving it the most indulgent texture!

I just bought steel-cut oats, and haven't opened it yet because I want to finish the other kinds of oatmeal I still have. (Have you tried the Better Oats brand? I'm loving the chai and dark chocolate flavors -- to the latter, I even added peanut butter!) I think you're right about the steel-cut oats being suited to a savory prep; I'll do that next. :-)

Wendy Hopkins said...

What a wonderful idea. I tried it this morning. I also wrote a post about it and linked back to you. Not often that happens for me that I am compelled to do a post on something I find right away, but this deserves it.

Link is here: http://www.halfboardwithlunch.com/2011/03/savory-oatmeal.html

Thanks!

Wendy

ChichaJo said...

Hi Heidi! Think about it…savory oatmeal may just surprise you :) That is funny about the mangoes…although I must say, and I may be a little biased here, but I love our mangoes and think they are one of the best in the world! Interesting about the champorado/champurrado – ours is made with rice because it is our most common starch :)

Hi Pam! Now that I’ve tried this I have to say that cheesy oats are GOOD!

Hi Brittany! It truly is versatile…both in its sweet and savory preparations!

Hi Hector! I am a very big fan of oatmeal and I love that we can have it in so many ways. With honey is definitely lovely :) When I travel I also miss our mangoes!

Hi Gattina! You are too sweet!!! The egg was just calling me but I guess my EQ won out in the end ;) (I love condensed milk here…will try that too!)

Hi Didi! Sweet and savory at the same time? I haven’t tried that yet but the first thing that comes to mind would be bacon and honey! Hmmm…that may just be my breakfast tomorrow!

Hi Rosa! Try it, it’s really awesome!

Hi 3748 Miles! OK…I really need to try it with that egg already! :) Oatmeal cakes sound like something I would really like for breakfast too!

Hi Midge! OMG…congee = the original savory porridge!

Katrina!!! You are the reason for this fantastic discovery! So, firstly, THANK YOU! Yes, yes, and yes! Next I am going to fry an egg in browned butter and pour the whole lot of it on the oatmeal and parmesan :) :) I love steel cut oats…although I alternate between that and old fashioned rolled, just because I like variety ;)

Hi Wendy! My goodness, that was fast! You made it before I could even answer your comment :) Glad you loved it too!

Ellen said...

I really, really like this idea! Thanks for sharing. I'm going to try it with some truffle oil.

Suzana said...

Joey,
This is lovely. I'm so curious about this savoury version of oatmeal! Will have to give it a try soon. :)

nayna said...

the amount of parmesan in your oatmeal makes me smile :)

i once tried a variant of instant oatmeal that was savory--arroz caldo, i think? it wasn't so good though, kinda msg laden and i prefer rolled oats over the finer textured instant oatmeal. but i might try your version tomorrow :D

Sanjeeta kk said...

This sounds really great! Olive oil, pepper and cheese on my Oatmeal!! Love the idea.

Jules said...

I am a HUGE HUGE fan of poached eggs over savory oatmeal. I'm trying to convert my friends and family haha. I make mine with margarine, pepper, nutritional yeast, and chili powder and top it all with a few dashes of Frank's. I could eat this every morning!

Brilynn said...

Now you've got me thinking about eggs and bacon oatmeal! I will definitely be making it in the near future...

Stephfret said...

This looks great, and a different treatment than I've seen. A few years ago a friend showed me this savory oatmeal: she sauteed spring onions, almonds, and kale in olive oil then added rolled whole oats. After the oats were coated in the oil, she added a little water and a good splash of soy sauce, but not so much liquid as you would normally use for porridge. It only took a minute or two for the oats to absorb the liquid, then voila!

I will definitely try this parmesan version, thanks!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Ellen! I think truffle oil would be fabulous on this…in fact I may just try that really soon!

Hi Suzana! I was very curious too and I’m so happy I finally tried it! It’s a whole other level of oatmeal :)

Hi Nayna! Oh I added more as I ate through it :) Definitely use rolled (old fashioned) oats…I don’t like instant (or quick) either. These instant things have nothing on homemade! Just a few good, quality ingredients go a long way :)

Hi Sanjeeta! I really loved it…give it a try!

Hi Jules! I must try it with some poached eggs soon!

Hi Brilynn! Yes, try it! It was a super pleasant surprise for me :)

Hi Stephfret! Wow, that version of your friend’s sounds delicious too! Hmmm, another version to add to my to-try list!

redmenace said...

Sounds excellent. Sort of like, grits. Don't hold back next time. Your instinct of the fried egg is exactly what I was thinking as well! xoxoox

Didi said...

Hmmmm honey oatmeal with crispy bacon strips sounds divine! :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Redmenace! Yes, exactly sort of like grits…and I’ll definitely be adding the egg next time!

Hi Didi! I’ll be trying that myself too!

Janice Harper said...

So brilliant, and so obvious, but never occurred to me before. I imagine it would also be great with chilis, fresh cilantro, or perhaps olive oil and lemon. Maybe a sharp cheddar and chives. Now that you've got me thinking, I may just play around with it until I've mastered oatmeal risotto! Thank you for the fun idea.

Kayla said...

I stumbled upon your blog, and I am glad I did! I love breakfast food! Oh yes, savory oatmeal is simply the best. In fact, these days, I have savory oatmeal more than sweet oatmeal.For those who have not tried it, you really have to try it!

My all time favourite combination will be old fashioned oats + chicken stock + pepper, topped with toasted sunflower seeds, dippy egg, and scallions. I'm really lazy, so I cook mine in the microwave. I have yet to try it with steel cut oats, but I would imagine it to be equally wonderful- if not, better!

Grace In Full Measure said...

Hmmmm interesting idea! I love olive oil and shaved parmesan, never tried them with oatmeal.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Janice! Those are good suggestions…thanks for sharing them :)

Hi Kayla! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment :) Mmmm…that sounds delicious!

Hi Grace! It is really good! When you think of it, oatmeal is sort of a blank canvas, just like rice (which we have both sweet and savory versions of as well) :)

Pille said...

So sorry, Joey, for not including you in the recipe links to start with - you didn't show up in FoodBlogSearch unfortunately (outrageous, I say!). I've edited the post now :)

Pille said...

So sorry, Joey, for not including you in the recipe links to start with - you didn't show up in FoodBlogSearch unfortunately (outrageous, I say!). I've edited the post now :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Pille! Oh my no worries! Glad to contribute to the oatmeal love! :)