Breakfast #36: Savory Oatmeal

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 :)