I recently enjoyed some time off from work for the holidays, and I thought it would be fun to actually make breakfast every morning – you know, something a bit more complicated than my usual bowl of cereal in a stupor. This recipe was bound to be a winner with our family since Andrew eats oatmeal for breakfast every morning anyway, and he absolutely loves “nanas”. I was also happy to find another use for my fun little kitchen torch besides making cupcakes with toasted marshmallow frosting.
I, for one, was thrilled with this recipe because up until now I have been unable to find basic oatmeal recipe I enjoy. They always taste totally bland to me, except for the instant oatmeal that comes from a packet and is surely loaded with additives I’d rather not know about. The oatmeal itself has a nice flavor thanks to a bit of sugar, some spices and vanilla extract. I also think a bit of honey would be a great addition but I didn’t use it this time around because Andrew was eating with us (remember, no honey for kids under 1!) Then topped with the fresh fruit, and with the caramelized top surface, you end up with a wonderful healthy breakfast that is definitely not ordinary. We all really liked this and Andrew ate so much I was concerned he might explode. The recipe below is enough for four servings, so you’ll want to at least halve it if you’re not feeding a family. Enjoy!
(Because I know someone will ask, yes, you can use your broiler if you don’t have a kitchen torch. However I don’t recommend it because every time I try the broiler method in place of a torch, I end up ruining whatever I’m making. I much prefer the torch because I have better control.)
Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Brûlée
3 cups water
½ tsp. salt
2 cups old fashioned oats
¾ tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Swirl of honey
1 banana, sliced thin
6-8 strawberries, sliced thin
Combine the water and salt in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the oats, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey, if using.
Divide oatmeal between warmed serving bowls. Top with sliced bananas and strawberries in an even layer. Sprinkle the sliced fruit with granulated sugar in a thin layer – just enough to help the surface caramelize. Heat with a kitchen torch until the surfaces are golden brown (strawberries have more water and will take a bit longer to brown).* Serve immediately.
*Alternatively, you can use the broiler to caramelize the sugar on top of the fruit. Be sure to use oven-safe bowls, keep them close to the heat source, and watch carefully. Browning won’t take long.