ALMOND CIABATTA FRENCH TOAST
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: "At Osteria di Tramonto, the Italian restaurant I own with my partners, we serve ciabatta, an Italian bread that has nice, big open holes," writes Gand. "It's delicious fresh, but it really is not the same the next day . . . so, what to do with the leftovers? We tried a bread pudding, but it was too firm for my taste. Then I tried making French toast with it -- and it's divine." From "Gale Gand's Brunch!" by Gale Gand (Clarkson Potter, $27.50).
• 3 eggs
• 2 pinches salt
• 3 tbsp. sugar
• 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1/4 tsp. almond extract
• 11/4 c. whole milk
• 1/4 c. heavy cream
• 8 (1-in.) slices round ciabatta
• Unsalted butter, for cooking
• 1 c. sliced almonds
Heat a griddle over medium-low heat. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs well. Whisk in salt, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract. Gradually whisk in milk and cream. Pour mixture into a shallow baking dish.
Working in batches if necessary, place bread in dish and let soak for 3 minutes, then turn bread over and soak other side an additional 3 minutes.
Butter griddle and let butter bubble. Just before placing soaked bread slices on griddle, place almonds in a single layer (but fairly densely packed) on griddle, forming an area the size and shape of a bread slice. Press one side of bread into almonds on griddle and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip bread and cook other side until speckled golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve hot.
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. From "Gale Gand's Brunch!" by Gale Gand (Clarkson Potter, $27.50).
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 c. whole milk
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 9 tsp. sugar, divided
• 1/2 c. flour
• 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
• 2 Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and cut into very thin horizontal slices
• 4 lemon wedges
• Powdered sugar, for dusting
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Whisk in salt, 1 teaspoon sugar and flour. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a nonstick 8- or 10-inch skillet, melt about 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons sugar over melted butter and cook for about 1 minute to caramelize sugar; it should be amber colored. Add 1/4 of the apple slices to pan and cook them on one side until golden brown on edges, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour or ladle 1/4 of batter (about 1/4 cup) over apple slices. Lift and swirl pan so batter coats bottom. Let cook until slightly browned on underside, 1 to 2 minutes.
Use a spatula or your fingers to flip crêpe, and cook until other side is slightly browned, about 1 minute. Don't worry if batter pulls away from apple a bit. Transfer crêpe to a platter and keep in warm oven. Repeat process, starting with butter, to prepare 3 more crêpes.
Serve with a lemon wedge (for sprinkling lemon juice over crepes) and a dusting of powdered sugar.
BACON-GREEN ONION SCONES
Makes 1 dozen scones.
Note: From "Gale Gand's Brunch!"
• 33/4 c. flour, plus extra for work surface
• 3 tbsp. baking powder
• 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
• 1 tsp. paprika
• 1 tsp. freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 c. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 -in. pieces
• 3 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
• 3/4 c. sliced green onions, white and green parts
• 11/4 c. whole milk, plus more for brushing
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on low speed (or working by hand in a large bowl), combine flour, baking powder, Parmesan cheese, paprika, parsley, salt and pepper.
With mixer running, add cold butter and mix until mixture is coarse and sandy (you should still be able to see small lumps of butter). Add bacon and green onions and mix thoroughly. Add milk and mix until almost combined; do not overmix.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead dough 10 times, then divide dough in half and shape into 2 balls.
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll balls out to 1-inch thick disks. Use a knife to cut each disk into 6 triangles. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese.
Transfer to ungreased baking sheets and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet. Serve warm or at room temperature, within a few hours of baking.
CORN AND PARMESAN FRITTERS
Makes 14 fritters.
Note: "These fritters do sweet corn proud and are great paired with fried eggs," writes author Gale Gand. "Omit the bacon if you want a vegetarian version." From "Gale Gand's Brunch!"
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• 1/4 medium onion, diced
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 c. whole milk
• 1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
• 1/4 c. flour
• 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/8 tsp. baking powder
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 2 c. corn, fresh, frozen or canned (drained)
• Canola oil, for frying
• Salsa, sour cream and chopped cooked bacon, for serving
In a nonstick sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it is almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Using a slotted spoon, remove onion and garlic from pan, discarding vegetables and reserving oil in pan.
In a mixing bowl, beat egg and milk together with a fork. Add cornmeal, flour, Parmesan cheese, baking powder, salt and pepper and stir to blend. Stir in corn.
Add 1 tablespoon canola oil to oil remaining in sauté pan and heat over medium heat.
Spoon fritter batter into pan to make as many 21/2-inch pancakes as will fit comfortably. Let cook until well-done on one side, 3 to 4 minutes.
Flip fritters and cook on other side until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat until all batter is gone, adding more oil if needed.
Arrange fritters on a serving plate and serve warm, topped with salsa, a small dollop of sour cream and chopped bacon.
Note: "Some people prefer this as a savory dish made with garlic or onions," writes author Gale Gand. "Some eat it only with strawberry jam or maple syrup. I'm in the maple syrup camp. This is a dish that kids can easily help make -- the first step is breaking all the matzoh crackers into pieces." From "Gale Gand's Brunch!"
• 4 sheets matzoh, preferably unsalted
• 4 eggs
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 5 grinds freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tsp. unsalted butter
• Maple syrup, for serving
Break matzoh sheets into pieces about the size of saltine crackers or smaller (irregular shapes are fine), and place them in a large bowl. Pour enough water over pieces to cover them and let soak 10 minutes while you prepare rest of ingredients.
In a small bowl, beat together eggs, 2 teaspoons water, salt and pepper with a fork. Place your hand, fingers stretched out wide, over broken matzoh pieces and hold them in bowl while you tip the bowl to let the excess water drain out; press on matzoh to squeeze out some of the water. Add egg mixture to matzoh and use a fork to stir it in.
In a frying pan over medium heat, melt better until it foams. Add matzoh mixture and cook it on one side until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Then break up mixture into 1-inch pieces, stir pieces to cook them on the other side, and cook until they are done all the way through, 5 to 10 more minutes.
Spoon onto plates and serve hot, with maple syrup.