How had it not occurred to me to make Savory French Toast? When the primary ingredients are bread, egg and milk, why not add cheese and pepper instead of sugar and cinnamon?
Now this savory version of French toast feels like a perfectly reasonable option, not just for breakfast, but for brunch, lunch, or dinner! (Not that I'm above sweet French toast for any of those meals. 😉 )
It was this recipe from Sweet Paul that got me thinking about it. This is essentially his recipe. I’ve simply swapped in Pecorino for Parmesan cheese and baby greens for spinach. Either way, you’ll love it.
I've often wondered about this and finally got around to looking it up. It turns out that the first mention of French toast came from a collection of Roman recipes called the Apicius. It was written in Latin and compiled in the 1st century AD. The French do make this style of dish, but call it pain perdu, which translates to, "lost bread," for the fact that it's often made with stale bread. Who knew?
French toast freezes beautifully! Cook as you would normally and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap stacks of 2 to 4 slices in foil and place in a freezer bag or freezer-safe storage container. Using the 'defrost' mode on your toaster, toast frozen slices until piping hot. Serve with a slather of butter or your desired toppings.
With this easy Savory French Toast recipe, you'll just need a grated hard cheese (so many options!), slices of bread (peasant loaf, french bread, or Brioche Bread), and a few simple ingredients for the egg mixture you'll be dipping them in.
I like to pan fry the dipped slices in sizzling, unsalted butter until each side is crispy and golden brown, using the original nonstick (a cast iron pan), but a griddle or regular nonstick pan would also work well.
Serve this with a scatter of baby greens to make it a meal. A meal that's great for breakfast or brunch, easy enough for a busy weekday dinner, and romantic enough for date night.
More must try breakfast recipes
How to make Savory French Toast
Step 1: Whisk together eggs, milk, cheese, and pepper in a shallow baking dish.
Step 2: Dip each bread slice in egg mixture and transfer to plate.
Step 3: Add butter to a hot cast iron skillet (or other nonstick skillet) and swirl to coat pan. Fry 4 dipped bread slices at a time until golden brown on one side; flip and fry remaining side to a golden brown. Add more butter to skillet and repeat with remaining slices.
Step 4: To plate: place one slice of savory French toast on a plate, top with mixed baby greens and a second slice of toast. Finish with more grated cheese, flaky salt, freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve.
Savory French Toast Recipe Video
Savory French Toast
- 6 eggs
- ½ cup whole milk
- 3 ounces grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- freshly ground black pepper
- 8 thick slices crusty peasant style loaf or thick slices of brioche, (see recipe note #1)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided, (see recipe note #2)
- 2 cups mixed baby greens or baby spinach or arugula
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- flaky sea salt such as Maldon, optional
To make egg mixture:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, Pecorino and pepper. Pour into a shallow baking dish.
- Dredge each side of bread slices in batter and transfer to dry plate.
- Heat a large, cast iron skillet (or other nonstick skillet) over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter. When butter sizzles, add 4 bread slices. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Repeat with remaining bread slices. (see recipe note #3)
- Divide bread and mixed baby greens among 4 serving plates (see recipe note #4); sprinkle with flaky salt (if desired), a few grinds of freshly black pepper, a final sprinkle of cheese, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve.
- This is a great way to use up bread that's past it's prime (i.e., stale). But you can also use fresh bread, just take care not to smash its delicate center or you'll have dense French toast.
- I like to use unsalted butter for this as Pecorino and Parmesan are both quite salty. However, salted butter works well too, just take care with the flaky salt finish at the end.
- Serve the slices hot as you go or keep the first batch warm in a 200˚F oven on a baking sheet or oven safe platter while you fry the second batch.
- I like to scatter baby greens over one slice of toast and top with a second slice and finish with cheese, flaky salt, pepper and olive oil. See video for exactly how I like to do this!
- This dish is rich and surprisingly filling. Note that light eaters may prefer a single slice.