French toast, despite the name, exists in some form in every country where people ever had any leftover bread that was beginning to get stale — in other words, every country in the world. In France, it’s called pain perdu or lost/wasted bread, though it’s more like bread that’s been saved from being lost or wasted. It’s a good dish not only for using up excess bread, but for disguising breakfast eggs for the benefit of people who don’t want to look them in the face first thing in the morning.
We usually think of French toast as sweet, to be served with syrup like pancakes or waffles, but it doesn’t have to be. Looking through an old Joy of Cooking, I saw a recipe for Tomato French Toast and got to thinking. Eventually, I came up with this version, which would be great with bacon or sausages, and is also fine (and quick) on its own.
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
- 2 slices bread, any kind
- 1 teaspoon blending flour (optional, but helps browning)
- Beat the egg well — in a bowl that’s wide enough to fit a slice of bread into — and stir in the barbecue sauce, then blend in the flour, if using.
- Heat a little butter and/or oil in a frying pan over medium high heat till it’s sizzling slightly.
- Put the bread in the egg mixture and move it around carefully till it’s coated all over. Pick it up with tongs and — carefully again — put it into the pan.
- Be ready to have it brown in just a few seconds; when it does, turn it over and be aware the second side will brown even faster. You may not be able to brown both slices at the same time no matter how big your frying pan is; you may just not have time.
- Serve this right away, with maybe a sprinkling of grated cheese.
- This is a little different from most French toast recipes in not using milk, though I’ve also seen recipes that call for orange juice. Of course, milk makes a good background for flavorings you might want to use, either sweet or savory, from cinnamon sugar to cheese.
- Flavoring the egg batter is one way to make French toast more interesting, but you can also try stuffing the toast — cooking two pieces together with a filling in between.
- The Joy even suggests putting rum in your egg batter (better save that for weekend mornings), or cooking your French toast in a waffle iron (does anyone still own one of those?).
- But these are all something for another day.