5 Favorite French Breakfasts
Damn it. I should be in France a second time since covid-19 quarantined the whole world back in March. Like many of you trapped in your homes around the world, I started letting my tastebuds take me on the ultimate staycations around the globe. Today I am sharing 5 of my favorite French breakfast/brunch dishes to remind me of life in a Parisian cafe watching the world pass by.
1. Bostock (toasted almond brioche)
Learn how to make Bostock (or Bostok), or toasted almond brioche in English. In my recipe, the crunchy, golden-brown slices of rich brioche generously slathered with raspberry jam and velvety almond cream (frangipane) are topped with toasted almonds and fresh raspberries. Alternatively, you could smear with a spoonful of Nutella and top it with toasted hazelnuts. This is the ultimate dish for a quick and easy breakfast or brunch dish that is guaranteed to impress your guests.
Toasted Almond Brioche
Crunchy, golden-brown slices of rich brioche generously slathered with raspberry jam and velvety almond cream (frangipane) are topped with toasted almonds and fresh raspberries.
Prep Time 15 minutes; Cook Time 10 minutes; Servings 8
FOR THE SIMPLE SYRUP
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon orange flower extract, vanilla extract, or rum
FOR THE FRANGIPANE (almond cream)
- 1 cup superfine almond flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 loaf brioche (about 14 ounces) cut into 8 thick slices
- 1/2 cup raspberry jam
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds toasted
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 24 fresh raspberries
- To make the simple syrup, in a small saucepan over high heat, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Stir in the orange flower extract.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or buttered parchment paper.
- To make the frangipane, in a food processor, process the almond flour, butter, sugar, egg yolks, and almond extract together until very smooth, about 30 seconds. If you don’t have a food processor, you can mix it by hand, but it will take much longer and the final consistency will be a little coarser.
- To finish, lay the slices of brioche on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with the simple syrup, then spread each with 2 tablespoons of the jam and 1/4 cup of the frangipane. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Transfer to plates, sprinkle with the toasted almonds and a generous dusting of confectioners’ sugar, garnish each slice with 3 raspberries, and serve.
2. French Dutch Babies (Pascades)
I remember the very first time I tried what we recognize as Dutch Babies. I was a small boy on our annual summer trip to the South of France. It always began in Marseille and eventually would end up at my grandfather’s auberge in Périgord. The highlight of the seven-hour drive in between was stopping in Rodez, a small city in Aveyron, for a buttery pascade. For the uninitiated, pascades are thick pancakes that are baked in a heavily buttered pan until golden brown and puffed up. They were a complete delight for a young gourmand with an adventurous appetite.
Prep Time 5 minutes; Cook Time 20 minutes; Resting time 1 hour
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp herbes de Provence (for savory pascades)
- 1 tsp Piment d’Ville (for savory pascades) or Espelette pepper
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar (for sweet pascades)
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and 1 tablespoon of the melted butter together.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.
- Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, constantly whisking until you have a thick batter. Stir in the herbs (or sugar if you are making sweet pascades). Cover the batter with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight, in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush a 10 or 12 inch ovenproof nonstick or cast-iron skillet with the remaining butter. Pour the batter into the pan, and then bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Resist the temptation to open the door and look at your pascade. The rush of cool air will flatten it if it has not cooked enough.
- After 20 minutes, crack the oven open and sneak a peek. If your pascade is golden brown and puffed, it is done. If not, cook another 5 minutes, and then check again.
Pascades Complete Oeuf, Jambon, et Cheddar
Prep Time 2 minutes; Cook Time 20 minutes; Servings 2
- 1 recipe pascade batter
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 slices ham
- 2 large eggs
- 2 slices cheddar
- Cook pascade according to the recipe.
- Heat the butter in a large nonstick pan. When it is foamy cook the ham quickly on both sides for about 3 minutes, or until just warm. Lay the ham slices in the pascade. Fry two eggs over easy. Top each egg with a slice of cheddar cheese and then put on top of ham in pascade.
3. Eggs Piperade
Cooking eggs in piperade is perhaps my favorite way to enjoy this classic dish. I must admit, I like cooking the eggs in three different ways. The first being the traditional method: 8 eggs stirred into hot piperade and served scrambled with toast and grilled ham. The second variation is to warm piperade with 4 ounces of either Jamón or Spanish chorizo cut into thick slices (substitute prosciutto if the Spanish ham is not available) in a skillet, then pour 8 beaten eggs over and bake in a 400-degree oven until eggs are set and fully cooked, about 10 minutes. The easiest variation is to cook eggs sunny side up and serve on top of warmed piperade with slices of buttered toast.
A flavorful stew of peppers, tomatoes, and onions slow-cooked together in olive oil.
Prep Time 15 minutes; Cook Time 45 minutes; Servings 4
- 2 tbsp olive oil or pork fat
- 2 sweet onions peeled, sliced thickly
- 4 cloves garlic mashed
- 2 tsp herbes de Provence
- 6 bell peppers thickly sliced
- 3 tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 — 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes pureed in a blender
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large, ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until hot. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 5 10 minutes. Add the herbes de Provence, bell peppers, paprika, and salt. Cook, stirring often, until the peppers soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Put in oven and let cook for about 30 minutes, or until everything is fully cooked and soft.
4. Eggs Meurette
Oeufs au Meurette or eggs poached in red wine is my all-time favorite egg dish to eat at home. Despite its rustic roots, my Oeufs au Meurette feels luxurious and fabulously decadent.
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick)unsalted butter, divided
- 4 ounces slab bacon, cut into thick matchsticks
- 1 shallot or small onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, mashed
- 6 ounces button mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 3 cups red wine, divided
- 1 cup beef stock
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 to 8 eggs, depending on your appetite
- 4 slices sourdough bread, toasted
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter until foamy. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel to drain.
- Add the shallot and garlic to the remaining fat in the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of the wine and the stock. Bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits up from the bottom, and reduce the liquid by half, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the flour and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter mashing them into a paste with a spoon. Slowly whisk the flour paste (called a beurre manié) into the boiling sauce and simmer until the raw flour taste is gone and the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of the wine to thin it. Return the bacon to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In another saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the remaining 2 cups of wine to a boil. Crack the eggs into a bowl, then gently slide them into the boiling wine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and poach the eggs until the whites are set, 3 to 4 minutes.
- To serve, place 1 slice of toast on 4 plates. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the eggs to the bread. Drizzle the sauce over the eggs and sprinkle with the chives.
Trouchia, a simple zucchini omelet that your family will never tire of, especially when your garden is producing more zucchini than you can eat. Pick your zucchini when they are no bigger than an inch in diameter, otherwise, they will be tougher, less sweet and too watery. Those are the zucchini you drop off at work or compost.
Trouchia: Zucchini Omelet
Trouchia, a simple zucchini omelet that your family will never tire of, especially when your garden is producing more zucchini than you can eat.
Prep Time 10 minutes; Cook Time 10 minutes; Total Time 20 minutes;
- 5 thin zucchini ends trimmed off
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 6 eggs
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 cup good parmesan, or goat cheese
- Shred zucchini on a box grater or using your food processor.
- Mix with salt and let sit for a five minutes or more. The salt draws moisture of the zucchini. Grab a handle of zucchini and squeeze all the water out of it.
- Mix zucchini with eggs, herbs, and cheese.
- Heat olive oil or butter in a non-stick pan and pour eggs in. Cook over a hot flame till one side is lightly browned. Put under the broiler, and cook the top side. If you are feeling adventurous you can try to flip over with a flick of the wrist. I usually pour a pastis and do this when no one is looking. That way if I fail, I can simply say I made incredible scrambled eggs.
- Serve with a small salad or au naturel.