Well, I’m back in New York after a lovely ten days in London, and there’s plenty I could write about my trip. I could tell you about how unreasonably nervous I was during my visa interview, or how my best Australian pals Alex and Rosey planned a surprise bachelorette outing for me, complete with Billy Elliot tickets (and no strippers), or how Leo and I took a fabulous sushi- and tempura-making class and ate a dangerous amount of white rice. I could describe for you how I watched four seasons of Game of Thrones while downing a full bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream on ice (one of my many weaknesses). And I probably should give you vivid details about the many mind-blowingly tasty donuts I consumed.
But I won’t, dear friend. Not today. Because today, only one thing matters: bacon, egg, and Parmigiano porridge. I’m here to tell you all about it.
I dreamed up this recipe while fantasizing about savory oatmeal. When I studied abroad in London during my junior year of college, I ate savory oatmeal pretty much every day. I would make oatmeal in the microwave, stir in soy sauce, and top it with sautéed vegetables and a fried egg. I ate it out of a plastic Tupperware container with a plastic spoon because I was too cheap to buy real bowls or silverware. It was all very glamorous.
I think I’ve come a long way since the humble beginnings of my savory oatmeal obsession. With this recipe, I might even have reached my final form. It’s THAT good.
What could possibly take oatmeal to this level of greatness, you ask? Bacon and cheese, of course. But not just any bacon and cheese—bacon that has been cooked low and slow in maple syrup, and high-quality Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that is crumbly and crystalline and addictive.
These ingredients are crucial to the rich, comforting flavor of the porridge, but the real secret lies in the cooking method. After caramelizing the bacon and rendering the fat, you remove the bacon from the skillet, add the oats, and toast them in the sugary bacon grease. You then put those oats in a saucepan and cook them up with milk and water, resulting in a deeply flavorful, creamy, smoky, bacon-y porridge that only gets better when topped with cheese and a fried egg. And with that crunchy, candy-like bacon you cooked earlier—don’t forget about that stuff.
The recipe here is for one serving, but it can be easily doubled if you want to get REAL romantic and cook your person the most delicious Valentine’s brunch they will ever experience. If you’re anything like me, you’ll agree that nothing says romance like “oats toasted in sugary bacon grease.” However, if you’re anything like me, you’re also hilariously, horrifically alone this Valentine’s Day (my roommate is out of town for the long weekend, my friends all have plans, my man-candy is thousands of miles away in a foreign land). Luckily, oats toasted in sugary bacon grease are also the best comfort for a lonely soul. Now you know.
- 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.