French toast with garlic and herbs

Pair savory French toast with a salad of bitter greens for a hearty supper.

Feasting On Art
Claude Monet, 'Still Life with Eggs' (1907). By completing the work in the morning light, Monet reinforces the symbolic references of beginnings and birth with the morning acting as a new beginning – the birth of a new day.
Feasting On Art

Within the history of art, the egg has been used to symbolize life, rebirth, fertility and potential. The icon has a long history and according to Silvia Malaguzzi in Food and Feasting in Art, “They symbolise rebirth, and that symbolic value was subsequently christianized in biblical exegesis and took the form of Easter eggs, the food of the Resurrection since the Christian Middle Ages.” Left with an inordinate number of eggs after Easter (pending they have not all been hard boiled and dyed) this recipe is an ideal way to convey an indulgent breakfast into a hearty supper. Apart from a slick of butter in which the bread is fried and a layer of melted cheese, there is little fat alongside the protein in the eggs and the tang of the mustard. Paired with a bitter salad of greens, this recipe is the antithesis of the surgary croissant french toast inspired by Morandi.

The muted light in Still Life with Eggs suggests an early morning composition, a period of the day that Monet appeared to examine in many of the paintings from 1907. The atmospheric qualities of light are considered via the grouping of white objects painted with a subdued rainbow of color. By completing the work in the morning light, Monet reinforces the symbolic references of beginnings and birth with the morning acting as a new beginning – the birth of a new day. The year the still life was painted, Monet began having problems with his eyesight. Still Life with Eggs illustrates his focus on the light rather than a detailed rendering of the subject; no doubt the details proved elusive to his fading sight.

French Toast with garlic and herbs

Yield: 4 servings

4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
dash of salt + pepper
1 tablespoon butter
4 slices of multigrain bread
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
8 slices of sharp cheddar cheese

In a small bowl, mix the eggs, thyme, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Once the butter begins to melt, dip a slice of bread into the egg mixture, turning it to soak both sides and quickly place into the hot frying pan. Repeat with remaining slices of bread.

Once the final slice of bread is placed in the frying pan, carefully flip the first slice. Repeat and cook each slice of bread until it is golden on both sides. Remove from the frying pan onto a plate. Divide the mustard and carefully spread on one side of each slice of bread. Add two slices of cheese to each piece of toast and slide under the broiler to melt the cheese.

Once the cheese is golden and bubbling, remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Megan Fizell deconstructs fine art into recipes at Feasting On Art.

Related post: Croissant French toast

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