This morning I made myself American-style French toast the Barry way for breakfast . . . with fried tomato and bacon.
How good does this look?
I have only done this once before. It is so good I really must try and do it more often.
The look of the 'French toast' in the picture above might be confusing for most Australians because for most of us Aussies 'French toast' is simply toast buttered on both sides and then fried. But the Americans have taken French toast a few steps further. They are not content to just butter some bread and put it in the fry pan. They make an egg batter (which most recipes seem to call a 'custard'), dip the bread in it, and then fry that.
If you look up French toast on the Web almost all of the recipes you will find are for American-style French toast. You will also find that all these recipes involve adding things like sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and/or vanilla to the batter (I prefer calling it a batter rather than a custard).
Personally, I am not that into having sweet foods for breakfast. So I have my own version of American-style French toast that does not involve sugar or any other non-breakfasty (sic) additives. My version is very simple and has the following ingredients:
- 2 eggs
- A splash of milk
- Salt and pepper
- About a third of a cup of grated cheese (whatever you can find in the fridge that you like)
Basically you just beat the eggs up a bit, then add everything else and beat it a bit more.
I find this amount of batter is just about perfect for two decent sized pieces of bread.
I thought about the complete process last night going to bed and I think I have got the preparation down to a close drill, so that everything sort of comes ready at the same time. The whole routine, including the tomato and bacon, goes like this:
(1) Get your tomato happening first. Cut a good sized tomato into three chunky slices and put them in a smallish pan on medium-to-low heat with some olive oil (or such like) to lubricate the pan.
(2) Put three slices of bacon into a large fry pan on medium. You need the large pan so you can put the two slices of bread in it later.
(3) Crack the two eggs into a large bowl (you need to be able to dip you bread in the bowl with relative ease) and give them a bit of a beating.
(4) Move the bacon around in the pan a bit to ensure even cooking.
(5) Add a splash of milk to the eggs along with a good dose of salt and pepper.
(6) Turn the bacon over and move the tomatoes around a bit (but don't turn them yet). I like to well and truly fry my fried tomato. Cooking it for a long time slowly like this makes sure the tomato is fried most of the way through.
(7) Give the batter a good beating. Get it a bit frothy.
(8) Get your bread ready and take the bacon out of the pan (putting it ready on your plate)—leaving behind the amazing bacon fat.
(9) Reduce the main pan heat to medium-low.
(10) Take the bowl of batter to the fry pan (which is on the heat). Dip a piece of bread in the batter and get it well and truly saturated; then drop it into the bacon fat pan.
If you don't get some dribble and a run of batter in the pan (see my picture showing this) then you didn't saturate the bread enough.
(11) Ditto with the second bit of bread.
If you have saturated them well you should not have much, if any, batter left. If you have a bit of batter left then dribble it evenly onto the bits of bread in the pan. Also put any escapee cheese from the bottom of the bowl onto the bread (see picture).
(12) Turn the tomato over. Hopefully it is nicely done on the first side.
(13) When the first bit of bread is golden brown (which will take about two minutes) flip it over.
(14) Ditto for the second bit of bread about a minute later.
(15) Move the tomato around a bit to ensure it isn't sticking.
(16) When the edges of the bread in the pan start to lift up (bend up, see picture) and the middle of the bread has puffed up (like a puffed wheat snack) then it is getting close to done.
(17) Put the tomato on your plate.
(18) Check the bread has toasted golden brown.
(19) Put the slices of Barry's American-style French toast on your plate.
If all has gone well then you should find that there is no uncooked batter in the bread. It should be all cooked and fluffy.
This works best with one or two day old bread. The results are not as good if you use very fresh bread.