I am an unabashed, self-admitted, and uncontrollable steel-cut oatmeal addict. That chewy texture, the creamy consistency, its nutty flavor — gets me every time and keeps me happy all morning long. You might think that it can't get much better than a splash of milk and spoonful of brown sugar over top, but here's something else you have to try: toasted steel-cut oats.
Toasted oats aren't some fancy new product for your shopping list — it's something that you can do yourself! I first learned this technique of toasting raw oats in a little butter before cooking from Kim Boyce in her book Good to the Grain. I tried it the very next time I made oats and was amazed at the new depth of flavor, rich nuttiness, and subtle sweetness in my oatmeal. Talk about a terrific way to start the day! It only takes a few minutes and I now do it every time I make steel-cut oats.
Here's what you do: Melt a little butter in the saucepan you're planning to use for your oatmeal and then add the raw oats. Toast them over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they turn a few shades darker and start to smell like popcorn, then add the water and continue with making your oatmeal as usual.
Simple, right? We toast rice before making pilaf and nuts before making cookies, so it makes sense that this same idea would work for something like steel-cut oats. And it totally does.
Ready to level-up your oatmeal game? Try toasting your oats tomorrow morning and see what you think!
This post has been updated. Originally published May 5, 2010.