1. The night before, pour the water and milk into a medium saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring it just barely to a boil. Watch the pot closely because it can quickly bubble over. Add the oats and salt, stir, and lower the heat. Gently simmer for 1 minute, stirring a few times. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid, and place in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
2. In the morning, return the pot to the stove over high heat. As soon as the oat mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat. Gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the oats are still a little chewy, 8 to 10 minutes. It may look rather soupy, but it will thicken as it cools.
3. Divide into serving bowls and top each one with a dab of butter and a few cracks of black pepper. Add a small pinch of flaky salt to each bowl, if desired.
Boost It: Top each bowl of oats with a fried egg just before serving. Alternatively (or in addition), add leftover warmed vegetables and shaved Parmesan. Sautéed mushrooms and leafy greens are particularly tasty.
Adapt It: If eating oats the savory way is too much of a stretch, no problem. Enjoy this how you normally might, with maple syrup or brown sugar. You may want to scale back the amount of salt to ¼ teaspoon.
TIP: DOUBLE UP
Leftover oatmeal and other hot cereal keep well for several days in the fridge, so make a double batch. Simply reheat on the stove or in the microwave, adding milk or water as needed. Alternatively, chilled oatmeal, polenta, or grits can be cut into thick slabs and browned in an oil-slicked skillet. Top with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil or maple syrup. Delicious.
From Rise and Shine by Katie Sullivan Morford, © 2016 by Katie Sullivan Morford. Photographs © 2016 by Erin Scott. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.com