Apple-Gruyère French Toast With Red Onion

, French
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Light and fluffy, here the bread takes on a soft, cakelike texture from its custard bath, which is a nice foil to the sharp cheese, savory onions and caramelized apple. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this sandwich could replace latkes on Hanukkah. But it sure makes a nice alternative that I could see making all year long.

Ingredients

  • 2

    1 3/4-inch-thick slices challah bread from middle of loaf

  • 3

    ounces grated Gruyère cheese (about 3/4 cup)

  • ¼

    small red onion, very thinly sliced

  • 2

    large eggs, lightly beaten

  • ¾

    cup whole milk

  • ¼

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼

    teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1

    small apple, cored, quartered and very thinly sliced

  • Fried eggs, for serving, optional

    Preparation

    1. Place one slice of bread on kitchen counter, the bottom crust nearest you. Cut into bottom crust, parallel to counter, to make a pocket. Do not cut all the way to top of slice; bread should remain attached there. Tuck half the cheese and onion slices in pocket. Repeat with other slice.
    2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour custard into a wide, shallow dish. Soak stuffed bread in custard, turning once halfway through, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes.
    3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the apple slices in a single layer and cook for 1 minute. Place bread slices in pan, covering apples. Arrange remaining apple slices on top of bread; cook 1 minute more.
    4. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to medium; cook until bottoms are golden, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn bread and apples and cook until bread is golden and cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve topped with fried eggs if desired.
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