Most of you already know that if I could, I’d eat breakfast all day. There have been more than one instance when I’ve eaten variants of breakfast in all three meals in a day. It’s an easy way to eat healthy when you’re lazy, is my excuse.
Since I’ve already blogged about toast and healthy varieties of french toast, I thought I’d give you a break from that spreadable square surface to talk about one technique that makes french toast even better: caramelizing. Since you’re already working with a hot pan, why not pull out some fruit from the fridge while you’re reaching for the maple syrup and grill ’em up as well?
Here, I’ve shown caramelized bananas. One thing I’ve noticed is that you can’t caramelize bananas right on top of your french toast. When you flip the bread, the bananas will brown on the pan, but the bread will remain eggy and toastiness not achieved! You’ll have to caramelize the bananas separately, and add it like a topping. I like my bananas more grilled than saucy so I can taste the crispy brown bits that are waiting for you to discover them scraped on the bottom of the pan. You can always turn the heat down and simmer some orange juice or Grand Marnier (for the fancy dancy days) before you scrape the bits, and serve as a syrup.
And since we’re talking about simmering and mellowing flavours, we may as well expand beyond breakfast (sigh, I guess the day must go on) and onto the savories. The heat of the pan and long cooking time required for caramelizing is actually a hotbed (couldn’t resist!) for charming out flavours in root vegetables like onions, leeks, and sweet potatoes. Eaten raw, these hardy vegetables are pretty much impervious to any flavour, but ease it out on the heat, splash some cooking wine or broth, loosen them with time, and you’ll coax out a sweet base note that you might just be surprised with.
Caramelized recipe round-up:
- Smitten Kitchen’s caramelized shallots are made with a butter sauce and works well as a side dish.
- If you like french onion soup, She Who Eats has a fantastic idea to make caramelized onions ahead of time for a savory soup that will take many attempts to perfect, no doubt!
- In the struggle to crown either sweet potatoes or onions in one recipe, Top of the Apple marries both in her recipe for sweet potato and caramelized onions quesadillas with chipotle. Sweet and zesty, I like!