Steel-Cut Oatmeal with a Fried Egg and Parmesan

May 15th, 2011 by katie

I remember reading an article once where Mark Bittman said that steel-cut oats are an “Aha!” moment.  As in: Aha! This is was oatmeal is supposed to taste like!  I would have to say that my first experience with steel cut oats was exactly that.  Oatmeal has never been my first choice for breakfast.  Or second.  Or fifth.  It has a weird texture, smells funny, and requires so much sugar to be edible that I might as well enjoy some Fruit Loops for less work.  For some time I had heard how much people liked steel cut oats, yet I figured they were the kind of people who enjoy oatmeal in the first place.  Unfortunately eating oatmeal has become almost synonymous with being healthy and it is difficult to find a diet or lifestyle blog/article/book that doesn’t encourage it.  So I suffered through a few disgusting, over-sweet bowls of watery oats and decided to take the plunge, make the effort, and whip up a batch of steel cut oats.  And now I am going to encourage you to do so too.

Steel cut oats truly make for a completely different oatmeal experience.  They are nutty and chewier, the porridge thicker, with more texture and richness.  Think of the difference between a slice of basic wheat bread and a slice of complex, multi-grain bread with flecks of seeds and nuts throughout.  They still need to be flavored, but they stand on their own a little stronger-a little fruit and maple syrup is all they need.

But wait, have you tried your oatmeal savory?  With a fried or poached egg?  Truffle salt, Parmesan cheese, and hot sauce make steel cut oats into a savory risotto-like dish you could eat any time of day. 

Basic Steel Cut Oats

makes 3-4 servings, cook time 30 min
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk (optional)
  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.  Add oats and salt, stir to combine.
  2. Turn heat down to low and simmer oats for about 30 minutes or until tender.  Stir occasionally towards the end of cooking time to keep the bottom from sticking.
  3. For thick oatmeal serve once oats are pleasantly chewy.
  4. For very creamy oatmeal add milk and simmer an additional 10 minutes.

Sweeten oatmeal with fresh or dried fruit, honey, maple, syrup, or brown sugar.  Add chopped nuts or granola for a little crunch or peanut butter for protein (or indulgence).  I like mashed bananas, walnuts and maple syrup.  Seriously though, the possibilities are endless: fresh cherries, frozen blueberries, dried cranberries, peaches, apples, cinnamon, or even a fried egg and cheese.

To make ahead:  Double the recipe (omit milk or add to taste) and once oats are tender, portion into single serving bowls, cover and refrigerate.  To reheat, warm in the microwave with a splash of milk or water to loosen then add your favorite toppings.

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Posted in Breakfast, Easy

5 Responses

  1. Tom

    I LOVE the idea of serving oats savory! Brilliant! Here is a method for slow cooker oats that results in the most sublime texture. The next time I make these I’m going to omit the cinnamon and finsih them off with parmesan, truffle oil, and a poached egg

    Slow cooker steel-cut oatmeal

    1 cup steel-cut oatmeal
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    2 cups cold water
    1 cup cold Half & Half or milk
    Pinch of sea salt
    2 tablespoons butter

    Toast the oats in a skillet with the cinnamon until toasty and fragrant. Remove to a plate to cool to room temperature.

    Add the toasted oats, water, Half & Half, salt and butter to a 4-cup glass measure. Put the measuring cup with the mixture in your slow cooker. Carefully pour water into the slow cooker (between the cup and the wall of the insert) until it reaches to just slightly above the ingredients in the cup. Place the cover on, set the slow cooker to low. Steel-cut oats will be ready in 6 to 8 hours.

  2. Frank

    Nice idea. I see industry trending toward uncommon uses for foods that are traditionally one-trick-ponies. Fruits are becoming main courses, sweet things are becoming savory, and savory becoming sweet. Brilliant.

  3. Emma Wallace

    What a wonderful idea! I tend to sweeten savory things more than savorize (?) sweet things but this looks so delicious!

  4. John Valenty

    I’m a little behind on the whole sweet goes with savory trend, but this does look good!

  5. Susan

    Another REALLY easy way is to toast oatmeal with small amount of butter (add cinnamon if you like), then add r cups water and small amount of salt, add lid to pot. Bring to boil. Turn off! Leave on burner overnight and in the morning you have wonderful creamy yet crunchy and toasty oatmeal. You can double or triple recipe with ease and refrigerate the rest. It just becomes more creamy with reheating.

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cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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