I know this sounds really strange. I never would have thought to put an egg on top of oatmeal before I saw the recipe in an issue of Everyday Food. Oatmeal toppings are things like brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, nuts, maple syrup. An egg and cheese on oatmeal just sounded funky – oatmeal is supposed to be sweet, not savory! Right?

Well, I’m here to tell you that oatmeal totally works as a savory dish. A soft-cooked egg will make anything rich and delicious, so it makes sense that it would transform boring plain oatmeal into something irresistibly yummy. The cheese adds to the savory goodness. This is one of our favorite breakfast meals, and it’s super easy. Quick cooking oatmeal is ready in no time (you could use old fashioned oatmeal too, it will just take a bit longer), and the egg cooks up quickly too. Sometimes I poach the eggs and sometimes I fry them – both methods work well. And this meal is so hearty and filling and healthy – it’s really a perfect start to the day.

Savory Oatmeal and Egg Bowl

Adapted slightly from Everyday Food, October 2010

Serves 2

1 cup quick cooking oats

1 3/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon table salt

2 eggs

4 tablespoons thinly grated sharp cheddar cheese (or fresh parmesan cheese), to taste

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

dried herbs such as thyme, parsley or chives, if desired

1. Bring water and salt to a rolling boil. Add oats and reduce temperature to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Cover and remove from heat. Let rest for 2-3 minutes or until eggs are ready.

2. Meanwhile, prepare eggs. Lightly fry in a pan for about 3 minutes until whites are set and yolks are still runny, or poach for 4 to 5  minutes. To poach eggs, fill a large frying pan almost full with water. Add a tablespoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer, almost boiling. Crack eggs into two teacups and use the teacups to gently lower the eggs into the water. Cover and remove from heat, and allow to sit for 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Dish oatmeal into two bowls, top with grated cheese and herbs, if using. Place egg on top. Season with salt and pepper.