Friday, June 26, 2009

The Custardy Allure

I have never been a sweet breakfast person. If I'm out to brunch, I may try to steal a bite of your banana-walnut pancakes or cheese and strawberry blintzes, but I only ever want a bite, and I will quickly return to my huevos rancheros or everything bagel and smoked salmon.

The custardy allure of french toast is not totally lost on me, though, so when Adam suggested we bridge the great sweet/savory divide last weekend and add some Gruyere and fresh herbs to french toast, I said Yes! Now let's make a brioche. (Clearly, you can buy a brioche or use sandwich bread, but don't you own ABin5 yet? So. Easy.)

Adapted from a very schmancy breakfast sandwich recipe found on cookthink, this recipe used the very end (!) of last summer's slow roasted tomatoes that I had hidden away in the back of the freezer. If you're already through your stash, I suggest you 1. bookmark this recipe and make it in September and 2. try it with a different vegetable! Asparagus would be lovely, blanched first and arranged on top of the toast. I bet sauteed spinach would be good, or even broccoli, as long as you cut the florets small enough and tossed the blanched pieces with a light touch of olive oil. Heck, you could even skip the veggie topper altogether.

Savory French Toast with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
Serves 2

4 thick slices brioche, ciabatta, or other bread
1/2 cup half-&-half, cream, or whole milk
1 egg
salt and pepper
2-3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh herbs such as sage, marjoram, thyme, chives (we used thyme and marjoram, and garnished with chives)
3 ounces Gruyere or other swiss cheese, grated
4 halves of slow-roasted plum tomato (one total tomato per person) or the veg of your choice, blanched

Preheat the oven to 400F. In a wide, shallow dish, whisk together the cream, egg, and salt and pepper (start with a half teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Dip the bread slices into the egg mixture, turning to coat, and leave them to soak for about 20 minutes. Defrost the frozen tomato halves, if necessary.

Line a baking dish or cookie sheet (with sides) with parchment paper and butter it well so the toast doesn't stick (and believe me, it wants to stick). Place the bread slices on the paper, and spread each with a thin layer of mustard. Sprinkle with herbs and cheese, divided evenly among the four slices, and top each with a tomato half, face up. If you like, you could sprinkle more cheese and herbs on the tomato.

Place the baking dish in the oven for 20 minutes or so, until the bread is slightly browned on the inside and the tomatoes are taking on a little color. Garnish with chopped chives or other herbs.


  1. I want to eat this. Also, I do NOT own ABin5 yet. YET.
    I want to make the brioche. Once I have the brioche, it will be a short skip to making this. And possibly inviting a few friends over because I can never make just ONE loaf of bread at a time.

  2. Joh, what are you waiting for?! I kid, but only sort of.

  3. That's just genius! In Japan we're not much on sweet breakfasts either and although I like custardy french toast, this looks much more up my alley.

  4. Yum. Definitely need that reminder about the slow roasted tomatoes. So delicious in so many ways.