Crunchy French Toast
French toast isn’t rocket science, if you can dip a piece of bread into a beaten egg, you have the technique down. That was the French toast of my childhood and I have fond memories of it. Over the years, I’ve played around with that basic recipe and now have at least a dozen variations, some better than others.
This very simple version is my current favorite and features panko breadcrumbs, those crispy Japanese-style breadcrumbs that transform anything coated in them into a crispy, crunchy delight. Panko has become very popular these days, and can be found in just about any major supermarket next to the regular breadcrumbs (Kikkoman is a good brand), or sometimes in the Asian food aisle. I use them for everything from breaded pork chops and seafood to crispy toppings for casseroles. The crumbs stay crispy, even under maple syrup or juicy fresh berries.
Here, I have used thick slices of white bread known as Texas toast, but I also love it with slices of French or Italian bread. I serve this as often for breakfast as I do weekday dinners served with maple syrup, or for something a little fancier, a fresh berry sauce that requires no cooking.
Crunchy French Toast with Fresh Berry Sauce
4 pieces thick, sliced sturdy bread (Texas toast, French or Italian work well)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups panko bread crumbs
4-6 tablespoons butter
Place the bread in the egg mixture and gently flip over until all the egg has been absorbed.Gently coat the bread in the panko crumbs to coat well. Melt the butter in a large non-stick pan and fry the slices over medium heat until the nicely browned on both sides.
Serve with maple syrup or fresh berry sauce (recipe below)
Easy Fresh Berry Sauce
2 cups fresh red raspberries
2 cups fresh blackberries
½ cup sugar (more or less depending on tartness of your berries)
Place half of the berries in a shallow bowl with the sugar and crush with the tines of a fork until juicy. Add the remaining berries and gently toss with the crushed berries. Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving. Can be made ahead, covered and refrigereated for two days.