AL’S FRENCH TOAST

Makes 8 slices.

Note: French toast can be dessertlike and way too sweet. To avoid that, sugar is not part of this recipe, nor is a big pour of maple syrup on top of the toast. Instead, maple syrup-infused whipped cream — lightly dusted with cayenne pepper (optional) — is served on the side for dipping. The flavor of heavily textured Kerrygold Irish butter from grass-fed cows adds depth and richness to the dish. Careful, though, as it has a very low smoke point. To toast pecans, place nuts in a dry pan over medium heat until they are fragrant, tossing occasionally. Or toast in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.

• 1 c. heavy whipping cream

• 1/3 c. real maple syrup

• Finely ground cayenne pepper

• 3 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk

• 1 heaping tbsp. freshly grated orange zest

• 1/4 c. half-and-half

• 1/2 c. buttermilk

• 1/3 c. Grand Marnier

• Squirt or two of Frank’s Original RedHot sauce, optional

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• A few shakes of kosher salt

• A few grinds of whole peppercorns

• 8 slices of day-old Swedish limpa, pugliese or French bread, cut 1/2- in. thick

• A plate of toasted coarsely chopped pecans (see Note)

• Kerrygold butter (or other butter)

• Fresh fruit for garnish

Directions

To prepare whipped cream: Whip the cream with an electric mixer until peaks are stiff. Add maple syrup and whip 5 more seconds. Serve 2 heaping tablespoons to the plated French toast, on the side, not on top. Otherwise, the hot toast will melt the whipped cream into a liquid mess. One dash of cayenne on top of the whipped cream should do, if you want to use it.

To prepare French toast: Preheat a skillet or griddle over medium to medium-high heat (cast iron works well). Put the whole eggs and extra yolk in a big bowl, add the zest and whisk. Add the half-and-half, buttermilk, Grand Marnier, hot sauce and vanilla, and the salt and pepper and whisk again. Pour the custard into a large glass pie plate.

Cooking 2 slices at a time, place the bread into the custard and let it soak 15 to 20 seconds per side. Then lay the slices on top of the plated pecans, pressing firmly but gently. Put a big pat of butter into the pan; the butter should sizzle, but not smoke. Moving quickly and using a spatula, carefully lift the slices one at a time from the pecan plate and place them nut-side down into the skillet. Cook each side 2 1/2 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Use the spatula to carefully turn the slices, keeping as many pecan bits on the top side of the bread as possible. Wipe the skillet or griddle with a paper towel in between cooking the batches, and add fresh butter each time. Keep the French toast in a warm oven as you cook the remaining slices.

To serve, place 2 slices per plate, with a mound of maple syrup-infused whipped cream on the side. Garnish with raspberries, blueberries or any other fruit, and/or orange zest.

Nutrition information per slice:

Calories 450 Fat 33 g Sodium 360 mg

Carbohydrates 32 g Saturated fat 14 g Calcium 110 mg

Protein 8 g Cholesterol 160 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1 other carb, 1 medium-fat meat, 5½ fat.

 

PARMESAN FRENCH TOAST

Serves 2.

Note: A savory take on the classic French toast with a golden, cheesy crust, on the table in 5 minutes. And far less calories than the usual French toast, drowning in maple syrup or melting butter. Recipe from the website RecipeTin Eats (recipetineats.com). Use any bread you prefer, though sourdough or brioche work well. Slightly stale bread is preferred, so it does not absorb too much liquid, which will make it soggy.

• 1 tbsp. butter

• 3 large eggs (or 4 small eggs)

• 1/2 c. milk (or cream)

• 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

• 1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley, optional

• Salt and black pepper

• 4 slices slightly stale bread

Directions

Place butter in large pan over high heat.

Lightly whisk eggs, milk, Parmesan, parsley, pinch of salt and sprinkle of pepper.

Dredge bread into egg mixture, shake off excess, then place into pan with butter. If your pan is large enough, cook all 4 pieces at the same time.

Scrape any remaining cheese at the bottom of the egg mixture bowl onto the bread in the pan.

Cook each side until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 413 Fat 19 g Sodium 650 mg

Carbohydrates 36 g Saturated fat 9 g Calcium 310 mg

Protein 23 g Cholesterol 310 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2½ bread/starch, 2 medium-fat meat, 2 fat.