Savory French toast is stuffed with cheese, bacon and greens. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles…)
Who said French toast was just for breakfast? This savory take on the comfort food -- stuffed with bacon, Gruyère cheese and dandelion greens and pan-fried to ooey-gooey perfection -- works well served any time of the day. And dinner is served in less than an hour.
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Savory stuffed French toast
Total time: 50 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4
Note: The sandwiches are great served alongside a light, tart salad or a bowl of soup.
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into large (about 1 inch) pieces
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 onion, halved lengthwise (with the grain) and sliced into very thin lengthwise strips
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 cups chopped dandelion greens, cut crosswise into large (2- to 3-inch) pieces
2 teaspoons wine vinegar, preferably sherry or Banyul's, more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
8 (1/2-inch thick) slices sourdough bread
4 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard, or as desired
1/2 pound thinly sliced Gruyère cheese
1. In a large skillet, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon (discard or save the fat for another use) and set aside.
2. In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften and start to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the white wine and continue to stir, scraping any flavoring from the bottom of the pan.
3. When the wine is almost completely absorbed, stir in the greens and cook just until they start to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar, then taste, and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Stir in the bacon bits, then taste again and adjust the seasoning or vinegar if necessary.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk, along with the Parmesan cheese. Whisk in a pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper to season the eggwash. Place the eggwash in a large shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside.
5. Soak the bread slices in the eggwash until just soaked on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Gently spread one-half teaspoon mustard over the one side of each of 4 slices. Onto the other 4 slices, divide the sliced Gruyère, then top with the onion and greens mixture. Then press the remaining slices of bread (mustard on the inside) onto layered cheese-onions-bacon to form a sandwich.
6. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted and hot.
7. Reduce the heat to low and pan-fry the sandwiches, 2 at a time, until crisp and golden and the bread is cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Cover the skillet while each piece is frying to allow the toast to fully cook and the filling to heat and melt. Adjust the heat as needed to keep each stuffed toast from burning.
8. Serve each piece of stuffed toast immediately or hold the finished toast in a warm oven until all of the pieces are fried.
Each of 4 servings: 711 calories; 36 grams protein; 46 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 41 grams fat; 22 grams saturated fat; 270 mg cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 1,275 mg sodium.