French Toast or Pan Perdu (“lost bread”) is traditionally a sweet dish often used for dessert. Not in this household, I was brought up on it as an afternoon treat when I got in from school. My dad and I would try out the best ways to do it and tweak it nearly every time we made it & my friends used to love coming to our house because they’d never heard of it before having it in ours.
The best way to have this, even as a vegetarian I say this is to cook rashers on the pan before you put the toast on as it gives a glorious flavour (and then make it into a sandwich by putting said rashers in between two slices of French toast). I do this with halloumi for a veggie alternative and it has a similar salty effect.
During the week we picked up a loaf of tomato & basil Vienna, as soon as we bought it I knew I’d be trying this out today. I cut the loaf in half and let it go stale so it would soak the mixture up more but you can use any bread (stale or not) including the heels/crusts. The main ratio is eggs to bread (3:5 for sliced pan) so if you’re upping the serving keep this in mind. I had too much mixture within this as I’m used to using sliced pan for this – believe me nothing goes to waste if you have extra bread or just throw leftover mixture on the pan when you’re done for a very quick flavoured scrambled egg!
3 large eggs
50 mls soy milk (normal milk works fine too, I haven’t tried any others than these two yet, soy gives a great nutty flavour/pulls out the flavours of the other ingredients)
Salt & pepper (to your liking)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
5 slices of bread (again whatever you have)
1 tbsp oil (again your choice, this amount will go for the full dish, as oil expands up to three times in heat)
If using a loaf slice into as many slices as required, for me this uses up whatever is left.
Crack the eggs into a jug and start beating with a fork, when the yolk is broken up add milk, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano and beat again until it’s all well combined.
Grab a plate and pour just under half of the mixture onto it (this is where the bread matters, if using sliced pan, use 1/4 mixture), place two slices of bread (or one sliced pan slice) into the mixture to soak.
Now put your frying pan on to low-medium heat, once heated add a splash of oil and flip your bread (in the mixture) over.
Swirl the oil around the pan (if using rashers/halloumi pop them in to cook now to your liking and take off the pan) and place your first piece/s of bread on the pan. Repeat the mixture & soak method wih your next pieces of bread. Leave this for at least 2 minutes before flipping and repeating on the other side, you’re looking for a light golden brown colour with brown crusts.
The cooking time will depend on your cooker, it’s roughly 4 minutes per slice, if you have an even cooking heat & oil doesn’t reach smoke point at any stage, as the pan is constantly on this can happen quite easily (again my cooker is temperamental so you may not have this issue at all but good to be aware of it).
If you’ve opted for the rashers/halloumi option, when you’ve taken your first slice off the pan pop the rashers/halloumi on the slice and pop under the grill/low oven to keep warm & sandwich with the next slice as it’s ready.
What I did today, not having halloumi to hand was mix up a little spinach and rocket for the bottom sandwich & used Mexicana cheese (chilli cheese) to the top deck and created a stack but there are endless options.
You can mix up the spices/herbs you use to just sticking to the same measurements, I’ve used coriander (ground) and paprika for a Mexican twist, or you can go back to the original sweet version by adding cinnamon & vanilla (have to say haven’t tried this one with rashers so cannot vouch it works). Fresh leafy herbs don’t work as well as their dried & woody counterparts (think rosemary, thyme). Chives also work very well. Just have fun trying out flavours you’re used to, you can’t really go wrong!
Let me know if you try this & if you try some other flavours!