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Gruyere-crusted Savory French Toast with Tomatoes

One of life’s greatest pleasures is breakfast for dinner. Whether it’s waffles, eggs & bacon, frittata, or french toast, there’s something about that comfort food that just hits the spot. Most of the time, I gravitate toward savory flavors, and really any time I can find an excuse to eat more cheese, I jump on it.

Usually when people think of french toast, they think of sweet toast topped with maple syrup. Taking a similar concept, I removed all the sugar and spice, and replaced it with cheese, garlic, and heat.

For this recipe, I’m using a crusty bread as opposed to a soft brioche. I find it lends itself better to the rusticity of this dish. You can find the recipe for the bread in my free Artisan Bread Course [HERE]. What’s nice about this bread is that it’s literally flour, salt, yeast, and water. That’s it. Because it’s considered a lean bread (no added fat), it will soak up any flavor you add to it making it the perfect canvas for this french toast. As for the shape, this recipe shows half-slices of a batard, however, you could also use baguette cut on the bias for a pretty look.

Bread that’s more on the dry side will work best for this as you want it to soak up more of the egg mixture, but if you’ve just made it, you can always slice it a few hours before you plan to use it and let it dry out a bit before beginning.

My basic rule of thumb for egg-milk ratio is one egg to every half cup of milk. So if you wanted to make more to feed more people, keep consistent with this ratio to achieve the right consistency.

Additionally, in the recipe below, I’ve noted substitutions in parentheses as not everyone may have half & half or gruyere handy. For the cheese, you just want to make sure that it’s a dry cheese you like (parmesan, asiago, gruyere, manchego, etc), and that you grate it very finely, using light pressure, so it stays suspended in the milk & eggs. Otherwise it’ll sink to the bottom instead of sticking to your bread. As for the heat (red pepper flakes & hot sauce), you can add as much as you like, depending on your preference. None at all, if you’re not into heat.

Using a cast iron skillet for this will give you a gorgeous crust on the outside of the toasts. Highly recommend one if you have it. Once you cook your toast and keep it in the oven to keep warm (use the Warming setting if you have it, or preheat to 200 and turn off), you can use the same skillet to cook down your tomatoes a bit.

Recipe: Gruyere-crusted Savory French Toast with Tomatoes
Prep Time: 7 min.
Cook Time: 15-20 min
Total Time: 22-27 min
Yield: 6-8 toasts

Ingredients:
1 1/2 C half & half (or whole milk)
3 eggs
1/2 C gruyere or parmesan, freshly grated, divided.
2 garlic cloves, grated with microplane or minced extremely fine
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
Few shakes of hot sauce
6-8 slices of rustic bread
Grape tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic, minced
Fresh basil, sliced thin
Butter
Olive oil (canola



Instructions:
1. Set your oven to the warming setting, or preheat to 200 and then turn off. You’re going to want a warm oven to keep your toasts warm as you finish them.

2. In a bowl, whisk together half & half, eggs, 1/4 C gruyere (or other cheese), garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, & hot sauce. Then move the mixture to a wide shallow dish so it’s easier to soak your bread. Slice bread about 3/4 to 1 inch thick.

3. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt a couple tablespoons of butter and a small splash of olive oil or canola oil. The oil will bring down the smoke point of the butter. Soak 2-3 pieces at a time.

4. Depending on the size of your skillet, cook 2-3 pieces of bread at a time until each side is golden brown. Move finished pieces to a plate kept in your warm oven while you cook the rest, adding more butter and oil as necessary.

5. Once all your toast is finished and kept warm in the oven, add tomatoes and garlic, and a tablespoon more butter and cook until softened and fragrant. You still want tomatoes to hold their shape a bit, but still be slightly browned on the cut side.

6. Plate the french toast, and spoon the tomatoes over top. Add the fresh basil and sprinkle more cheese over the toasts and serve.

Did you make this recipe? Tag @breadladytv & @springhillbakery so we can see!

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