I recently saw a recipe for pain perdu, which is basically a baked, savory version of French toast. I had been thinking about it since I saw it, and I'd also been craving an eggy dish for dinner all day. I also had some nice cheeses and fresh veggies on hand, so I thought I'd make a sort of grilled cheese/omelet/quiche hybrid, and put it in the pain perdu category.
This was a really easy weeknight meal that was rich enough to feel like dinner, but light enough that it didn't undo my whole day.
SAUTEED VEGETABLES & PARMESAN PAIN PERDU
4 slices French baguette
1/4 c. half and half
1/4 c. grated (packed) parmesan
1 slice sharp provolone cheese
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 zucchini, cut into half-moons
1/4 large white onion, sliced
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh thyme leaves
Preheat the oven to 375. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the half and half and parmesan, and some salt and pepper.
Place the bread slices in a shallow baking dish. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Place the provolone over the top of the bread, tearing into pieces so it covers the bread. Bake at 375 until the provolone is bubbly on top and the egg mixture is set, about 15 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Saute the onions and peppers with a little salt and pepper and the thyme. When tender and a little browned, remove from skillet. Add the zucchini to the skillet and cook until a little browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total.
Place a few slices of the bread on a plate (I used three), and top with the veggie mixture. Enjoy!
This was cheesy, savory, and fresh - and super easy. I just used the veggies I had on hand, but spinach, chard, arugula, poblano peppers, shallots, tomatoes - they'd all be great swaps. This would also be delicious topped with a little Romesco sauce or a quick balsamic vinegrette - or just a drizzle of balsamic itself. You could also use whatever cheese you like - feta, chevre, mozzarella, even cheddar. You could also lighten it up with egg whites. Instead of the cooked vegetables, you could top the pain perdu with a fresh salad tossed with just a bit of lemon juice and olive oil.
I think you get the picture: this is a forgiving dish that can really become whatever you want it to be. It would be lovely with some parma ham or sliced turkey. I'd love to try it with my leftover lamb, too - like little open-faced sandwiches.
The French really get the whole bread-and-cheese thing, don't they?
Thanks for reading. Au revoir! More soon...