Spring has not sprung, and I need comforting Savory Oatmeal
I know I talked about a Spring recipe on Friday, but that was before the temperature plummeted and the heat in my apartment failed on Saturday (it’s fixed, but still). I needed comfort, warmth, and to clear out my bins, so here is a recipe for Savory Oatmeal. I’ve made oatmeals savory before, inspired by a dish I had at Cambridge’s dearly departed Loyal Nine that served steel cut oats with greens.
Reduce food waste by making Savory Oatmeal
This time, however, when I looked in the fridge, I remembered the extra arugula I’d ordered by mistake, and decided that I needed find a way to eat it before it became fodder for Fridge Purge. I prefer arugula uncooked, so I didn’t add it to my oatmeal.
Inspiration from my sister and a few ideas
My sister with her cooking Instagram @earnestcooking, talked about cheesy oats that she and her son have been making. I had some parmesan rind and some bits and bobs of Gruyere that needed using. My herb drawer had some parsley and thyme, and I had a mean looking shallot and some garlic.
I also had Simple Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (recipe for subscribers in the Wonder & Sundry Recipe Box!), some scallions, and an egg I needed cook. Hmmm . . . clearing my larder might result in a tasty lunch.
Savory Oatmeal? It’s not grits, but it is good
As my sister says in her Instagram post, you could think of Savory Oatmeal like the Northern approximation of cheese grits. I love grits, but I have never cooked them, and I would never, ever post a recipe for them, for I like my Yankee head attached to my body. This dish is not grits. All the same, it is good.
Follow what you have in your larder
Savory Oatmeal is less a recipe than an idea, and you’ll have leftovers if you are dining solo, like me. I’ve included measurements and ingredients, but really, use what you have on hand that sounds good to you. Taste as you go along and adjust as needed. Steel cut oats do require you to be on hand to stir, but you don’t need to slave over the stove. Get everything else out and ready as you go, and you’ll be eating when your oatmeal’s cooked.
The general idea for Savory Oatmeal
In this version, cook some shallot and garlic in butter and olive oil until softened. Then add the steel cut oats, stirred to coat and toast a little teeny tiny bit. Add water, herbs you have on hand (they don’t need to be pretty), a little salt (not too much—you are working with cheese rinds), and some freshly ground black pepper.
Bring everything to a boil, and add the cheese rinds, and reduce the heat. Keep an eye on it, and stir every now and again. Once the cheese has melted some (you’ll notice it with the liquid), give it a taste. I added more salt and also a little apple cider vinegar. Maybe add a little more pepper. Or not. It’s all up to you.
Pick up the stirring a bit more once the liquid really starts to be absorbed. Test the oatmeal to see if you need a little more liquid (I didn’t). It’s done when the liquid is absorbed and the oatmeal is to your liking.
A few serving ideas
Now comes the fun part—serving it. I fried an egg (and somehow whiffed that a bit, but it still tasted good). I tossed a bunch of arugula into a bowl, added a generous scoop of the Savory Oatmeal. On top of that went the egg. Then I added Simple Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and sprinkled some scallions on top. Delicious. Warm. Comforting.
Spring will come, my friends. Until then, bring on the comfort. Recipe below.
Larder-Clearing Savory Oatmeal
- ¾ cup steel cut oats
- 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tbs shallot, minced
- 3 cups water you might need a little more
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 sprigs parsley
- 1 sprig thyme
- hard cheese rind, cut into chunks, to taste I used a mix of some parmesan and some Gruyere in the demo
- ¼ tsp cider vinegar, optional
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot and cook, stirring, until translucent, but not browned (about 2 minutes)
- Have the water on hand. Add the oats to the garlic and shallots, and stir to coat and toast a little bit (less than a minute). Add the water, the herbs, a small pinch of salt (you can add more after tasting with your cheese, if desired), and a few twists of black pepper. Bring to a boil.
- Add the cheese rinds, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook the oatmeal, stirring occasionally. Start tasting when the cheese has melted some (depending on your cheese, you'll use more or less salt). Add the cider vinegar if using and adjust seasoning if desired. Continue stirring until the water is absorbed and the oats are cooked to your liking (add more water if necessary). Remove the herb stems and any remaining rinds.