Carpe diem bitches.
I took Latin in high school like a really cool person, and one of the things we learned about Roman culture is that they lived for excess – sumptuous feasts, UFC-level violence and deviant sexual behaviour that would make Charlie Sheen look like a nun.
…or was it the opposite? That the perception of Roman excess was all wrong, and they were actually a culture dedicated to self-control and chastity? I pretty much just copied my friend’s tests and flirted with the Italian student teacher, so I couldn’t really tell you. But, when this recipe idea popped into my head (pretty loose definition of recipe as usual), I pictured an emperor lounging, draped in a toga, being fed grapes and wine by beautiful people. And I was that emperor. And I liked it.
Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients – some are repeats used in different steps, and most are staples for at least some of you. I highly recommend this with some fruity red wine, because it amps up the excess, but full disclosure, it’s sour cherry juice in the photo, so don’t feel like a dweeb if you go with a non-alcoholic beverage. Remember, I’m the one who took Latin.
French Toast (for the Julius in all of us)
Makes French toast for one
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
Generous pinch of salt
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup milk (I use whole)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
2-4 slices of old-fashioned bread (depending on size, thickness + hunger)
Toasted walnuts, to serve
Bunch of grapes, to serve
More honey, to serve
More olive oil, to serve
1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan over low-medium heat.
You want to hear a bit of sizzle when the bread hits the pan, but nothing dramatic.
2. Mix ricotta, salt, lemon juice + honey in a small bowl.
3. Thoroughly mix the egg, milk, salt + cinnamon (if using) with a fork or whisk.
You want the egg to be fully incorporated – otherwise you’ll get hot spots of fried egg on the toast. Which can actually taste pretty good, so maybe try it sometime.
4. Pour the egg + milk mixture into a shallow dish with a rim. Dunk in your bread and allow to absorb the mixture, flipping to ensure even absorption.
5. Pick up the dunked bread, allow any excess mixture to run off, and place into your pan.
6. Cook each piece until one side is golden brown (about 5 minutes), and then flip to cook other side.
Once cooked, remove to an awaiting plate.
7. Top your now Frenched toast with ricotta mixture, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with toasted walnuts.
Serve with grapes on the side.
♠ You can serve the grapes straight up, or cook them a bit as I have. Simply toss the grapes with a bit of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat for a few minutes until some begin to burst open.
♠ When I say “old-fashioned” bread, I’m referring to a kind of rustic feel to it. But use whatever bread you want. I originally tested the recipe with egg bread and it was delicious. Thicker bread might mean you only get two pieces out of this – thinner will get you more. I think you probably understand the basic premise behind that.
♠ Bread that’s slightly dry works the best, as it absorbs more of the milk + egg mixture.
♠ I used regular olive oil for frying + extra virgin oil for finishing the dish, but I wouldn’t get too hung up on it either way.
♠ If you prefer a sweet French toast, add 1 teaspoon of sugar to the milk + egg mixture.
♠ To toast walnuts – heat a dry (as in no oil) frying pan over medium heat, and add walnuts until they start to smell fragrant, tossing occasionally. Watch them fairly closely as they can burn easily (but then you can have burnt walnut French toast and that sounds pretty cool).