I first posted this recipe in January 2010, when I was without a home, living a peripatetic life between America and London. There was snow on the ground, I was broke, cold and in dire need of comfort food. My sister was letting me camp out with her, and I made my favourite eggy snack in her kitchen. (It’s still one of the most popular recipes in the LLG archive.)
Today I was woken at 730am by the rain - and the dog, and all I can think about is French Toast for breakfast.
Here’s my beyond simple recipe again (with my secret ingredient at the bottom):
I may well be a fashion editor, but I do eat. And eat properly. I utterly refute Kate Moss (& Weightwatchers’) cry of ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’. God life would be so unutterably boring without eating delicious things. I find it hard to like people who pick at food or remain resolutely opposed to eating. One legendarily unhinged editor told me at our first meeting that she didn’t like eating, cooking or food. I should have listened more carefully & run fast in the opposite direction when I still had the chance.
Don’t get me wrong — I watch my weight as much as the next woman (there’s a fine dividing line between perky & porky) but, in this misbegotten weather, all I want is yummy, carb-orific, filling & hot food.
So I give you my incredibly easy French toast, pain perdu, or eggy bread* as it is known in my household. This is the savoury version. Not being an American, I cannot abide sweet food at breakfast. (But if you do want the sweet version, here’s my take on it.)
For three pieces of French toast take two eggs, then change your mind and make it three (count on one egg per piece of bread):
Break them into a bowl and beat with a fork. If you like savory eggy bread add salt now. If sweet, a heaped teaspoon of white caster sugar. There is also the stratospherically wonderful Indian version where the egg is beaten with milk, salt, green chili and chopped onion.
Cut three pieces of bread (it can be stale as the egg softens it up). I used part of a delicious Bloomer loaf.
Hack off the crusts (& take to park to feed the ducks)
Dip the bread a piece at a time in the egg,
making sure it is saturatedly soggy with beaten egg
Add a couple of tablespoons of neutral cooking oil (sunflower/groundnut) to a large frying pan and heat it until it smokes (but not too much or your house will burn down).
Turn the extractor fan onto high. This dish is going to spread frying smells everywhere otherwise.
Slide two pieces at a time into the frying pan (too much cools down the oil & your toast will be soggy):
I like mine quite browned & very crispy, but if you want a lighter colour, keep checking the bottom of the bread and then flip it over when done to your liking to cook the reverse side.
Flip it out of the frying pan & on to kitchen paper to drain off some of the oil.
Arrange beautifully on plate:
And — the pièce de résistance — I then add a fine layer of Marmite to my eggy bread.
I do realise that some of you will now think that I am the wrong-est person in the world for doing this. All I can say is: don’t knock it until you have tried it. The mellow, umami-rich saltiness works perfectly against the crispy bread.
Otherwise try it as an accompaniment to an English breakfast or, if you’ve gone down the sweet route, try fresh fruit, icing sugar and whipped cream. Or clotted cream & raspberry jam (Like my version here.)
*This post is dedicated to my wholly American friend Steve who thinks that eggy bread is the most ludicrous name for food, and yet another example of English madness.