Far too often, oatmeal is cast off as sad, gluey gruel. I reject this rejection. When prepared with care, oatmeal can be enjoyable and satisfying. To change haters' minds, I propose making fried oatmeal. After a trip in a pan filled with foaming butter, I dare anyone to pooh-pooh a slice of golden, steamy, fried oatmeal. Try it and you’ll see.
Spray a muffin tin (for uniform circles) or a baking dish with cooking spray. Pull out a container of leftover oatmeal and place it in a microwaveable bowl with a few teaspoons water. Heat and stir the oatmeal in 25 second increments on high heat (you can also do this on the stove). When the oatmeal is thick and smooth, pour it into the greased pan in a thin layer, about ¼- to ½-inch thick. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth the top of the mixture, then cover the pan with foil or plastic wrap. Place the pan in the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
While you’re waiting for the oatmeal, make mascarpone yogurt: whisk 1 cup Greek yogurt with ¼ cup mascarpone and 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup. Add a 1 teaspoon of lemon or orange zest if you’d like. Stash the mixture in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
After the oatmeal has chilled, pop the oatmeal circles out of the muffin tin or cut the oatmeal into even pieces (squares or triangles will work) with a metal spatula from the baking dish. Carefully slide the pieces of oatmeal out of the dish and onto a plate.
Meanwhile, heat a pan with 1 tablespoon of canola, coconut, or vegetable oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, use the spatula to drop the slices of oatmeal into the pan. Let the slices cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown, and then flip. When the second side is seared, toss is 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter into the pan and rotate it a bit to let the butter reach all the pieces of oatmeal. Flip the oatmeal again, and add more butter if the pan seems dry. Fry the remaining slices of oatmeal in the same way.
When all the oatmeal is fried, serve sliced of it with a plop of mascarpone yogurt, fresh or macerated fruit, and a bit of maple syrup.