For far too long, oatmeal has been relegated to the health food section of the breakfast landscape, forever overlooked on brunch menus in favor of lavish eggs benedict or syrup-drenched pancakes. Humble though they may be, oats are capable of more pizzaz, especially when they're combined with something other than flax seeds and blueberries. Namely: bacon.
Savory oatmeal deserves a seat at the breakfast table, as far as we're concerned. Here are a few places answering the call, plus a DIY version that's delicious, easy-to-make and wallet-friendly to boot.
OATMEALS There are probably thousands of oatmeal permutations you can make here—I'm not a mathematician, so this is my educated guess—using the many different sweet and savory toppings and additions they offer in the Build Your Own section of the menu. Bacon, gorgonzola and truffle oil? Sure why not! Pecans, gruyere and balsamic glaze? Sounds delicious. If you're concerned about your selection prowess, try one of their pre-vetted offerings like the Sun-dried Tomato, Pesto & Parmesan ($4.75 - $6.75) with sea salt and cracked black pepper. 120 West 3rd Street, (646) 360-3570; oatmealsny.com
SWEET REVENGE This cutesy dessert bar and brunch destination in the West Village serves a hearty version of savory oatmeal that'll service as a full day's meal—if you can finish the whole thing. Their Savory Oatmeal Skillet ($11.95) comines oats with roasted potatoes, black beans, corn and tomatoes, then tops it with jalapeno cheddar for a turn in the oven. Carnivores can opt for additions of ham, bacon or turkey bacon, and the meal comes with a side of fruit or a salad. 62 Carmine Street, (212) 242-2240; sweetrevengenyc.com
FARO Breakfast for dinner is one of life's great pleasures and chef Kevin Adey—a well-known grain manipulator—offers two savory porridge options depending on the night of the week. Monday through Saturday, he's serving Local Grain Porridge ($13), which he makes by milling and combining wheat berry, corn, oats, emmer and rye then simmering them in vegetable stock, butter and parmesan cheese. To that, he adds slivers of umami-rich black truffles with crispy sunchoke and whey. And on Sunday for brunch and supper, the porridge includes a very breakfasty combination of leeks, bacon bits and a poached egg. 436 Jefferson Street, Bushwick, (718) 381-8201; farobk.com
Finally, there's also the DIY option, considering oatmeal is an incredibly affordable grain and you can customize to your dietary preferences or by whatever you have languishing in your fridge and cupboards.
(Courtesy Kate Malczewski/biddiekitchen)
Bacon, Egg, and Parmigiano Porridge, courtesy Kate Malczewski at biddiekitchen.
- 2 slices bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus shavings for serving
- 1 fried egg, fresh parsley, chili flakes, and sriracha, for serving
Lay the bacon flat in a cold medium skillet. Cook over low heat until the bacon starts to sizzle. Drizzle the maple syrup over the bacon and swirl the pan to coat. Continue cooking over low heat until the bacon starts to crisp at the edges and browns on the bottom, then flip. Once the bacon is fully cooked and the fat is rendered, remove the bacon from the skillet with tongs and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
Add the oats to the skillet with the bacon fat. Toast the oats over low heat, stirring constantly to coat them in the fat and prevent burning, until they are golden brown and fragrant. Transfer the oats to a small saucepan and add the water and milk. Season with salt and pepper and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the oats have absorbed most of the liquid and the desired consistency is reached, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the finely grated Parmigiano.
Transfer the porridge to a bowl. Top with the bacon, Parmigiano shavings, fried egg, parsley, chili flakes, and sriracha.