I am not a huge fan of breakfast. Except for Toad in the Holes, I don’t care much for eggs. I don’t like maple syrup, so pancakes aren’t my favorite either. Plus I’m usually just not that hungry in the morning. But I do love a really good bowl of oatmeal. The other day I saw a recipe on WordPress for baked oatmeal, and it reminded me of this recipe that I haven’t made in a while.
My favorite oatmeal is steel cut Irish oatmeal, and the best way to eat steel cut oatmeal is pan-fried. Steel cut Irish oatmeal, unlike rolled oats, takes time and patience to make. You have to cook it for at least half an hour, and that’s after you bring the water to a boil. There is no such thing as instant steel cut oatmeal. (I have this vague memory of having seen it in the store once, but it must have been a dream because I’ve never found it again.)
But this recipe for pan-fried oatmeal makes quick morning preparation possible for several days, and it improves the taste of the oatmeal as well. The browning brings out the nutty flavor of the oatmeal quite nicely.
4 cups water
1 cup steel cut Irish oatmeal
1 large apple
½ tsp cinnamon
butter (or non-stick spray)
sliced almonds or chopped pecans
In a 3 to 4 quart pan, bring 4 cups of water to a brisk boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, dice apple into ¼ inch pieces. If your apple is bruised, you should peel it first, or at least remove the bruised spots. Slowly pour 1 cup oatmeal into the boiling water, stirring as you pour it in. Let boil a few minutes until it starts to become slightly thickened. Add apple pieces, cinnamon, and salt. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes or until oatmeal is thickened.
You can serve up the oatmeal with brown sugar and milk at this point if you want to, and just reserve the leftovers for the rest of the recipe. Or you can allow the oatmeal to cool slightly and transfer to an airtight container to refrigerate overnight. The oatmeal can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. I usually make this on a Sunday and then have pan-fried oatmeal every morning throughout the week from this one batch.
In the morning (or whenever you want to eat this), heat a fry pan over medium heat. If you are just making one serving, a small fry pan will do. Melt a small amount of butter in the fry pan (or spray with non-stick spray if you want a healthier, but less tasty, option). Scoop ½ to ¾ of the oatmeal into the fry pan and press it down into a pancake about ½ to ¾ inch thick. Place a small handful of almonds or pecans on top and press them into the oatmeal. Fry until the first side is nicely browned. Flip oatmeal pancake, adding a little more butter or non-stick spray under it. Continue frying until the second side and the nuts are nicely browned. Serve in a bowl with brown sugar and milk. You can also add raisins or dried cranberries if you like, but I don’t usually have any of those in the house.
A note about oatmeal brands: If you really want excellent oatmeal, you have to get McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal. I have tried at least 2 other brands and they were not nearly as good.
A note about apples: The best apple I have ever made this with is a Honey Crisp, but they are only available for a short time each fall. Any firm, sweet apple will do, but I highly recommend Honey Crisp if you can get them.