Bobby Flay's Easy Go-To Oatmeal

Chef Bobby Flay has a diverse range of recipes in his repertoire. He tends to cook American fare — and even wrote an entire cookbook of burger recipes — but he also has a soft spot for brunch. He hosted the show "Brunch @ Bobby's" on Food Network, and wrote a cookbook of the same name. Although the show featured some more extravagant meals, like cheddar bacon cornmeal waffle sandwiches and smoked salmon crepes with lemon creme fraiche, Flay's go-to breakfast is actually much simpler.

When he's craving some comfort food, Flay starts with a simple bowl of steel-cut oatmeal. To achieve his ideal texture, Flay has a specific way of cooking up the oatmeal. Typically, steel-cut oatmeal will take about 10 to 20 minutes to cook up. To cut down on time, though, Flay preps his breakfast the night before and allows it to boil on the stovetop for about a minute. He leaves the oats in the water to soften, then finishes cooking the meal in the morning.

Although Flay leaves his oatmeal out on the stovetop overnight, the USDA recommends storing cooked or partially cooked food in the fridge instead. Anything left out at room temperature for over two hours is at risk of bacteria growth.

Flay includes a few more things in the oats

Once his steel-cut oats are completely cooked, Flay adds some extra flavoring to the dish. To sweeten things up, he mixes in a little bit of honey or maple syrup. Specifically, he likes clover honey. For some extra sweetness, he also includes some fruit. While it may be simple to slice up some fresh fruit to top off the bowl, Flay enjoys a little flair and cooks up a compote.

To pack in even more flavor, Flay uses some spices to amp up the dish. Skipping spices and seasonings is actually a common mistake when cooking oatmeal. To give some extra oomph, Flay suggests a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves. He also uses a little bit of salt to cut through the sweetness and enhance the flavors of the other ingredients.

Once everything is mixed together in the oats, Flay pairs it with some Greek yogurt. The protein-packed dairy product can add some creaminess to the texture of the dish, as well as some extra vitamins and nutrients.

Other ways to upgrade a bowl of oatmeal

There are plenty of other combinations you can create with your oatmeal to make a delicious start to your day. Flay has also suggested combining apples and cranberries with brown sugar and cinnamon to create a bowl of oatmeal reminiscent of the taste of apple pie. And a scoop of Greek yogurt alongside it may remind you of the dessert à la mode. Mashed bananas and specific spices (think cinnamon or nutmeg with a pinch of brown sugar) may make the bowl taste like a slice of banana bread. Some pecans can also pair well, lending a nice crunch for more texture.

Adding that little bit of crunch can be a great way to diversify the mouthfeel of the dish. An easy way to achieve this is to stir a little nut butter into the bowl for some almond, peanut, or cashew flavor — while a chunky variety will contribute some extra bite. Chopped-up pistachios or other nuts can make for a welcome consistency contrast as well.

The next time you catch a craving for a bowl of oatmeal, try taking Flay's suggestions to finish off the dish. The extra prep work can make the oats take on a softer, creamier texture, and the additions can make for a more delicious breakfast.