Bring the water and milk to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until just beginning to foam; add the oats and toast, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until golden and fragrant with a butterscotch-like aroma, 1 1⁄2 to 2 minutes.
Stir the toasted oats into the simmering liquid, reduce the heat to medium-low; simmer gently, until the mixture thickens and resembles gravy, about 20-25 minutes.
Add the salt, stir to combine and continue simmering, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the oats absorb almost all of the liquid and the oatmeal is thick and creamy, with a pudding-like consistency, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Off the heat, let the oatmeal stand uncovered for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with maple sautéed apples. Garnish with toasted pecans if desired.
MAPLE SAUTÉED APPLES:
(Begin cooking apples when the oats have about 5 minutes cooking time remaining.).
Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and 1 tablespoon maple syrup; sauté until the apples are tender, about 6 minutes.
Mix in the remaining 1⁄2 cup maple syrup and cinnamon; simmer until slightly reduced, about 2 minute.
Makes about four servings of oatmeal topped with sauteed apples, and garnished with toasted pecans if desired.