My mother loved oatmeal with butter, salt and pepper. She grew up on a farm and was also fond of bread dipped in buttermilk, always close at hand when you have cows.
The buttermilk-soaked bread I disliked with a vengeance, but over time I found she was right about the oatmeal.
I also learned there’s no reason to stop with salt and pepper. Oatmeal is a beautiful canvas for other spices. My favorite combination includes healthy doses of za’tar, sumac and turmeric, plus a finishing dollop of yogurt. My husband adores hickory salt, which he adds to his portion.
Avocado toast, also in our breakfast rotation, is seasoned with olive oil, lime juice, lime salt and hot pepper sauce. Put something on top, whether sunflower seeds or tomato slices or–my favorite–thinly sliced radishes. More lime salt on top and snipped chives.
Eggs simmered with sage in olive oil, another favorite, is a specialty of my husband. He uses olive oil like a Sicilian (make sure it’s good, make sure it’s plentiful) and you should too, for the same results. Slide the pan’s contents onto sourdough or wholegrain toast.
Like most people, I’m not particularly adventurous when it comes to breakfast. Even after my first cup of coffee, I’m just looking for something fast and delicious. But now and then a new idea vaults into our breakfast rotation. Maybe you’re the same? One of these could become a favorite.
I usually use steel-cut oatmeal, letting it simmer while I take a shower and read the newspaper. For faster results, use the package's make-ahead method or substitute regular oats. Suggested seasonings can be adjusted to your taste.
- 2/3 cup steel-cut oatmeal
- 2 teaspoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon za'atar or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sumac or to taste
- 1 or 2 pinches turmeric or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt or kosher salt or to taste
- 2 dollops yogurt
Bring 2 2/3 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in oats. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until liquid is absorbed and oats are tender, about 30 minutes.
Stir butter into oatmeal until it melts. Season with za'atar, sumac and turmeric. Taste before adding salt.
Spoon oatmeal into two bowls. Spoon dollops of yogurt on top and sprinkle on more seasonings if you like.
No better way to start the day than with avocado toast. Radish slices on top and lime salt over all make it even better.
- 1 large avocado or 2 smaller ones
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Lime salt or sea salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- Hot sauce to taste
- Snipped chives optional
- 2 to 4 radishes depending on size
- 2 large slices rye or other wholegrain bread
Run a knife around middle of avocado and twist it apart; discard pit. Mash with a fork to a chunky consistency. Blend in olive oil.
Season mashed avocado with lime salt, lime juice, hot sauce and (if using) chives.
Halve radishes if large or use whole. Thinly slice.
Spread avocado mixture on toast. Top with radish slices and, if you like, more lime salt and chives.
After simmering in olive oil with eggs, the taste of fresh sage permeates this dish.
- 2 tablespoons best-quality olive oil
- 6 sage leaves more or less, depending on size
- 2 eggs
- Sea salt or kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 large slice rye or other whole-grain bread
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a small nonstick skillet. Add sage leaves and cook until crisped but still green. Remove 3 leaves for garnish.
Gently break two eggs into pan. Season with salt and pepper.
Reduce heat to low, cover and cook eggs until whites are set. Meanwhile, toast bread.
Place toast on a plate. With a spatula, slide eggs onto toast and pour sauce over. Garnish with reserved sage leaves.