Savory oatmeal is a satisfying meal for anytime of the day and is the perfect vehicle for seasonal cooking. This recipe will provide you with a framework with which you can adapt to any season or vegetable. Kale or Dandelion greens would work equally well with this preparation, as would Peppers in the summer or Broccoli in the fall. Castle Valley Mill makes a wonderful Stone-ground Irish Oatmeal from PA grown oats that cook up creamy even without the addition of milk. I like to prepare these oats with a more savory flourish, closer to Polenta than a traditional oatmeal flavored with sugar or dried fruit. I finish the oats with butter and a healthy grating of a hard cheese, like the Royer Mountain from Clover Creek Cheese Cellar. Trust me, you’ll never look at oats the same way again.
Feel free to adapt this recipe to whatever oatmeal you have on hand…Irish-cut, rolled or stone-ground. Just follow the instructions provided with the product.
1 cup Stone-ground Irish Oats
3 cup Water, milk or dairy substitute (I like Flax & Hemp milk)
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
To taste Freshly cracked Black Pepper
3 Tablespoon Butter
¼ cup Hard cheese, grated (i.e. Parmesan, Royer Mountain)
3 t Flax seed, ground
2 cups (½ bunch) Swiss chard greens, chopped
1 stalk Green garlic, sliced (substitute 1 clove of garlic)
8-10 caps Shiitake, sliced
Pinch Red pepper flakes
4 each Eggs
4 T Olive oil
- Prepare your Oats. In a medium saucepan, bring your liquid to a boil. Turn off the heat and slowly whisk in your oats. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for about 25 minutes until oats are creamy and tender. Turn off heat and add grated cheese, butter and ground flax. Stir well and taste. Cover with a lid and reserve somewhere warm.
- Cook your vegetables. Place a medium sized pot on a medium-high heat to preheat. This initial preheat is critical for cooking mushrooms. Once the pan is hot, add 2 T of olive oil and your mushrooms in an even layer. Allow mushrooms to cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. As soon as you see the mushrooms starting to take on color, reduce the heat to medium, stir and cook the mushrooms for 5 more minutes. If your pan looks dry, add another tablespoon of oil or a knob of butter. Add green garlic (or sliced garlic clove) and a pinch of pepper flakes. Gently saute to soften the garlic and then add your Swiss Chard greens and toss to cover in the fat. Gently wilt for 5 minutes and then season to taste with salt. Remove from heat and reserve to the side.
- Cook your eggs to your liking, but for me, this dish really shines with a perfectly cooked olive oil-fried sunny side-up egg.
- To plate. Check your oatmeal and thin with warm water if it has thickened up. You are looking for a smooth and creamy porridge-like consistency. Place 2 or 3 giant spoonfuls in the middle of a bowl. Add on a layer of your sauteed vegetables and top with a fried egg . Add a final flourish of grated cheese, ground flax seed and a grinding of fresh black pepper.
Michael Joyce is a Philly-based chef and local food advocate. Spending his career in kitchens devoted to seasonality and sustainability such as Blue Hill, Bolete Restaurant and most recently Barbuzzo. He believes that cooking through the seasons and as close to the source as possible, is not only satisfying and inspiring, but critical to the health of our local communities.