Herbed French toast

    40 min

    Give breakfast or brunch a new twist with this savoury version of French toast, also called pain perdu or eggy bread. Triangles of bread are dipped into a fresh herb and egg mixture, then pan-fried until crisp and golden. Serve with big and ‘meaty’ portobella mushrooms and lean bacon, both grilled, for a really tasty combination.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 4 large eggs
    • 4 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
    • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
    • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
    • ½ tbsp chopped fresh thyme, or a pinch of dried thyme
    • pinch of paprika (optional)
    • 4 large portobella mushrooms or large flat mushrooms, about 250 g (8½ oz) in total
    • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
    • 4 rashers lean back bacon, rinded and trimmed of fat
    • 5 thick slices white bread
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:25min  ›  Cook:15min  ›  Ready in:40min 

    1. Combine the eggs, milk, most of the parsley, the chives, thyme and paprika, if using, in a shallow dish. Season to taste. Set aside.
    2. Preheat the grill to moderately high. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms. Using 1 tbsp of the oil, lightly brush the gill sides of the mushroom caps. Place them gill side up on the grill rack. Add the bacon rashers to the grill rack. Grill the mushrooms for 6–7 minutes and the bacon for about 10 minutes, turning the rashers over halfway through. When the mushrooms and bacon are cooked, remove from the grill pan and keep warm.
    3. Meanwhile, cut each slice of bread into 4 triangles. Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a moderate heat and add 1 tbsp of the remaining oil. Dip about one-third of the bread triangles into the egg mixture to moisten on both sides, then put into the hot pan. Cook for 1–2 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and keep warm while you cook the rest of the bread in the same way, adding the remaining 1 tbsp oil as needed.
    4. To serve, arrange 5 triangles of French toast on each plate. Cut the mushrooms into thick slices and add to the plates, together with the bacon. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

    Another idea

    For sweet orange French toast, first make a fresh fruit compote to serve alongside, in place of the bacon and mushrooms. Combine 250 g (8½ oz) raspberries and 2 thinly sliced ripe peaches in a bowl. Cover and set aside. Gently whisk 3 large eggs with 3 tbsp semi-skimmed milk and the finely grated zest of 1 large orange. Cut 8 slices of brioche loaf, each about 5 mm (¼ in) thick, then cut each slice in half. Dip into the egg mixture and cook in batches as in the main recipe. Serve the hot French toast topped with the fruit compote and 1 tbsp Greek-style yogurt per serving.

    Plus points

    This hearty breakfast dish contains fewer calories than the traditional version, which is often served with melting butter and maple or golden syrup. * Wholemeal bread is considered to be healthier than white bread, but in fact all breads are important sources of starchy carbohydrate. Also, white bread has calcium added and subsequently contains more of this important mineral than wholemeal bread.

    Each serving provides

    B12, copper, selenium * B1, B2, E, niacin, zinc * A, B6, folate, calcium, iron, potassium

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