In the early days of Food52, I submitted my overnight miso oats recipe and it won a contest! Since then, I've still eaten the same breakfast basically every single day, but every now and then, I tweak it slightly. At this point, the recipe is totally different—and much better!—than the original.
There are a few important and wonderful details about this recipe:
1. Letting the oats soak with the miso overnight is key. The miso flavor itself is not super strong, but the live enzymes in the miso break down the starches in the oats, making them taste subtly sweeter and more interesting (so make sure you don't buy a pasteurized miso!).
2. Cooking in half milk and half water is also super important! I used to make the oats in all water. I liked the strong oaty flavor. But I wanted something heartier, so at some point I switched to cooking in only milk. But I found the texture of the oats suffered; paradoxically, the oats didn't come out as creamy when cooked in only milk. I think something about the milk prevents the oats from breaking down during cooking and they come out unpleasantly tough. Half milk and half water is perfect: you get the richness of milk along with the nice creamy texture of oats.
3. I have a rather idiosyncratic ritual around the accompaniments for the oats. I eat them with banana and a few crunchy toppings, but I have strict rules for what gets mixed into the oats and when, and what gets eaten on the side. The bananas, for example, are preferably cold from the fridge and placed in a little tupperware alongside the oats, to be added one at a time by the spoonful. If you add them to the oats directly, they get unpleasantly mushy and also warm, and you lose the pleasant hot-cold contrast. The ground flaxseed should be added to the bowl you eat the oats out of, but not the pot in which you cook them, or it turns the texture oddly viscous.
This recipe serves 4, but if you're just cooking for yourself, make the whole portion and eat it throughout the week. That's what I do! —linzarella
steel cut oats (preferably Bob's Red Mill)
white miso paste
bananas, preferably cold from the fridge
toasted rice (optional, but adds a nice crunch factor)
Combine oats, milk, water, and salt in a large pot, cover, and set over high heat. Set a timer for 5 – 6 minutes so you don't forget about it and it overflows everywhere! As soon as it comes to a boil, turn it down to a simmer and set the lid ajar. Simmer at lowest heat for 25 – 30 min.
Once the oats have finished cooking, turn off the heat and put the cover all the way back on so they continue cooking a bit and not too much liquid evaporates. Leave on counter until the oats have cooled to roughly body temperature. At this point, spoon the miso paste into a bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of cooked oats to the bowl and mix well to combine oats and miso into a paste. Then add the paste back into the pot of oats and stir well.
Leave the oats in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, heat up your oats. As they heat, get 4 bowls ready. Into each bowl, put 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, maple syrup, and butter. Also prepare a separate container or small plate for the bananas. Slice the bananas and fan out across the plate. Atop the bananas, sprinkle the toasted rice, toasted walnuts, and flaky salt.
When the oats are hot, divide between each of the 4 bowls and mix well to distribute the butter, flaxseed, and maple syrup throughout the oats.
As you're eating the oats, put a banana slice on your spoon, then dip into a bite of oats.