Monday, March 14, 2011

French Toast -- Not Just for Breakfast Anymore!

In keeping with the goal of Food, Face First, where we take the basics and learn to free ourselves from recipes, here's an idea for revamping that old classic, French toast. In France, it's known as "pain perdue" or "lost bread." So how can you redo French toast to make it more versatile?

To do that, we need to revamp our thinking. We assume French toast is for breakfast, and is sweet, because that's what we've been accustomed to thinking. But instead of sweet, what about savoury flavours?

French toast is, at its most basic, eggs, milk and bread. What you do with the French toast after that is more important. So rather than fry it up and serve it with cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, or syrup, what would happen if you took eggs, milk and bread, and combined them with something else that goes well with those basics? For example, you could top it with cheese, as a start. What else goes with those basics? How about some peppers, or some fresh herbs from your garden? Get a little more adventurous, and add some fresh chevre. How about an Asian-style French toast? Tex-Mex? What happens when you substitute olive oil, walnut oil, hazelnut oil or avocado oil for your regular oil?

In fact, when you break it down, eggs, milk and bread are the basis constituents of soufflés. So any formulation that would work well in a soufflé will also work in French toast. (And vice-versa!). What happens if we chop the bread into small pieces and bake it rather than fry it?

Now what happens when you substitute some other starch for the bread? Potatoes come to mind, and then you have a casserole. What about pasta? And let's not forget rice and yes, tapioca! In fact, using the French toast base, you can create hundreds of wonderful dishes for your family.

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