Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pain Perdu (aka French Toast), Asparagus and Orange Butter sauce (Recipe)

Last Sunday, since my family celebrated Mother's Day on Saturday, rather than Sunday (less competition at restaurants), my friend and I had our own non-Mother's day brunch. Along with the mimosas, complements of my friend, we also had French toast (Pain Perdu) with asparagus and a lovely orange beurre blanc sauce with a fresh strawberry salad to cut the heaviness of the French toast dish. All about balance, right!?! I recently have gotten into making normally sweet things, savory. (More to come on that front, promise!)

(This recipe will yield enough for 2, you can double it- no problem!)


1 bunch of asparagus
olive oil
salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Then, wash the asparagus well (tends to have sand in the tips). Place in baking dish and drizzle olive oil and roll the baking dish back and forth to coat same. Add salt (since this was a special occasion, I used my red volcanic salt, but regular salt will do.) and pepper. Bake for 7ish minutes, depending on the size of your asparagus. I prefer it to remain firm, yet cooked. It is easier to cut into pieces later. Once cooked, slice into 1-2 inch pieces and put on the side.

Next, prepare the French Toast mixture.


2 eggs
1/2 heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to preference)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to preference)

6 slices of French bread, the good crusty kind, cut into 1 inch slices. (suggestion- cut it the night before and leave it out so that it will be extra absorbent)


In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients (except the bread), transfer to a bowl that has enough surface area to accommodate your 6 bread slices. Place your bread slices in the mixture for 3 minutes each side to absorb thoroughly. While soaking the bread, preheat the large skillet, and margarine. Make sure the skillet's heat is even before placing your egged bread into it. Cook until each side is nicely browned.

The Sauce:

3/4 cup white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1/4 cup orange juice (fresh or squeezed- depending on what you have around and if you want to get a little fancier, you can switch the regular orange juice out for blood orange juice- it will be a little more tart)
1 thinly sliced shallot (or again, for a slightly different taste, you can use a small white onion, diced)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon of orange or lemon zest
6 tablespoons of butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons more of orange juice


In a skillet, bring to a boil wine and juice. Add shallots or onion. Allow to reduce (about 10-15 minutes) until approximately 1-3 tablespoons (don't measure it, just eye it). Whisk in cream and allow to reduce again until approximately 1/8th cup. Reduce heat to low. Add butter, one tablespoon at a time. Once all the butter has been combined, you can either strain the mixture or if you want the added texture of the shallots, you can skip the straining exercise and add the 2 tablespoons of juice and the zest, then salt and pepper to taste.

If you decide to strain the mixture do so into a heat-proof bowl to avoid shattering. Then add zest and remaining juice. Once sauce is complete, you are ready to plate.

(If you decide to include a salad, prepare that beforehand as to not waste time after.) I included just a simple strawberry salad- mixed greens with sliced fresh strawberries and a simple vinaigrette.