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Baked Parmesan French Toast with Tapenade and Arugula Salad

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 122

In this savory take on a breakfast favorite, slices of ciabatta are dipped in a custard infused with Parmesan and thyme and are then baked. Served with a dab of tapenade and arugula lightly dressed with a honey-lemon vinaigrette, it’s a perfect casual supper.

  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated on the small holes of a box grater (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 3/4-inch-thick slices ciabatta bread
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. honey
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 oz. baby arugula (about 5 lightly packed cups)
  • 1/4 cup store-bought or homemade tapenade

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Butter a large rimmed baking sheet.

In a 9x13-inch baking dish, whisk together the eggs, Parmigiano, milk, thyme, Tabasco, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Put the bread in the dish in a single layer, turn to coat on both sides, and let sit, turning once more, for 5 minutes.

Arrange the bread on the baking sheet. With your fingers, gather any remaining cheese from the baking dish and spread it over the slices. Bake until the bottoms are golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Flip and continue baking until the bottoms are golden, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, honey, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper; whisk in the olive oil. Add the arugula and toss.

Serve the French toast with the salad and tapenade on the side.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 500; Fat (g): fat g 19; Fat Calories (kcal): 170; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 7; Protein (g): protein g 24; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 58; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1250; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 210; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I really don't understand the negative review. This was a quick, easy and novel dinner. French toast is almost a misnomer. The result is more like small free form stratas. I scooped the remaining parmasan egg mixture over all the bread slices and they puffed up in the oven. I made a quick olive tapanade from another FC recipe while the toasts baked and we ate it all with a regular green salad and vineagrette. I'm sure the arugula salad would have been even better. My kids loved it (one ate it with the tapanade, one without) and thought it was "so crazy" that we were having French toast for dinner. Another plus: a very economical, vegetarian dinner.

This was really egg-y and heavy with surprisingly little flavor. None of us enjoyed it and I received specific requests not to make it again.

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