venerdì 26 ottobre 2012

Italian-American French Toast

(Per la versione italiana, vedete il post precedente.)

French Toast is one of the most magnificent examples of “cucina povera” — “poor” cuisine, which of course is the richest cuisine that we have. Old slices of bread are transformed into one of the most popular and beloved breakfasts in America. (Interestingly, Italians never eat eggs or meat for breakfast; the last thing they would ever dream of eating for breakfast is an omelette.)

In the egg and milk mixture, one can add vanilla, cinnamon, even orange juice. The soaked bread is fried in a pan with butter (certainly not olive oil).

The most common toppings for French Toast are butter and maple syrup. If you travel north of Massachusetts — Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Ontario — you find the most fantastic maple syrup in the world (even if most Americans most often use the vile imitations found in supermarkets). Other very common toppings are powdered sugar and fruit compote.

4 slices of bread (stale or fresh)
extra-virgin olive oil
2 or 3 eggs
a little milk (optional — only if the bread is hard)
2 cloves of garlic, with the skin still on
freshly ground nutmeg
pecorino, parmigiano, or another cheese that you like.

Beat the egg (and the milk if you’re using it) with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. (Important: do NOT use vanilla or cinnamon, ingredients only in the sweet version.) Soak the pieces of bread — very little time if the bread is fresh, a little more if it’s stale. Meanwhile, heat the frying pan; add the oil and garlic. (Don’t take the skin off.) Fry the soaked bread for a few minutes per side. When golden brown, transfer it to a plate and top it with the cheese of your choice.

In the photo, the French Toast at the right is topped with pecorino romano. At left, I instead used a smoked mozzarella. I preferred the first one, which had more bite. Perhaps with both cheeses, and homemade lard instead of oil ...

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