Nature’s Pride Savory French Toast, It’s No Wonder!

Nature’s Pride sent me a couple of loaves of bread recently asking me to try their new product. Free bread – what’s not to like!

But seriously, I thought I’d put this bread through the paces. So I made sandwiches. Good sliced bread absolutely must do well with sandwiches. It’s 90% of its duty at my house.

I am pleased to report that it indeed made excellent sandwiches. The main reason for this fact was because it’s not too sweet. Have you noticed that many of the grocery store brands of bread have gotten strangely sweet? It seems modern companies have crept up the processed sugar content in these breads slowly over time. As Americans began to turn to “healthier” whole grain sliced bread I think these companies doubled down on their bets by increasing the sugar content.

nature's pride breadIf you don’t believe me just take a trip to Europe. The difference in “sweetness” for plain old grocery store varieties of sliced bread will astonish you!

Anyway, whether you think I am making this up or not, the pleasant low level of sweetness in these Nature’s Pride loaves is why I was so pleased with this product. Its texture is good also. Like I said it made an outstanding sandwich.

But that probably would not have been enough to convince me to do a post on this product. I get plenty of things to try out, and I just do not post about all of them. Because my motto in that regard is: “if you can’t say something nice, just don’t say anything at all”. Hard-core critic Sup! is not.

savory french toastBut the whole grains led me to have a little “stroke of genius”. I never would have tried this with just any sliced bread. Especially those brands with the “covert” level of clandestine sugariness. But the reason you are reading these words is because I used the Nature’s Pride 12-grain bread in another recipe. 

I made a Savory French Toast with Black Lentils. The bread turned out to be the perfect choice for this off the cuff recipe. In all honesty I was trying to recreate a very plain, but delicious dish I ate in Italy a very long time ago, and have remembered ever since. I think it was just sitting there inside my head waiting for the right moment to “pop out”!

Despite my own youthful love for “savory French toast–  Italian Style”, I can see quite a few of you pinching up your faces out wine pairing grant henry cotes du rhone lentilsthere. A savory French toast just hit you the wrong way didn’t it? Well it shouldn’t.

Really good French toast relies on a creamy, texture wrapped in a rich egg crust. Sweet or savory, it’s a delectible mouthful. It’s the dichotomy of smooth vs chewy that makes it so satisfying. Sugar and syrup need not be the only companions to this completely satisfying experience.

Speaking of satisfying experiences. I have asked Sip! (my brother Grant) to do a wine pairing for this dish. As usual he recommended a wine pairing that accentuates all the best rustic charms of this recipe. So please raise your glass to Grant. SippitySup’s Food Buzz nomination for “Personal Sommelier” is all his doing. He’s the man behind the bottle at SippitySup. I get all the glory, he does all the work. So I hope you’ll remember to thank him by voting for him in the FoodBuzz Awards, he deserves your support!

But let’s be honest. A great wine can’t make wimpy bread work with something as hearty and full-fledged as lentils. I promise you, it cannot. 

That is why this bread is a wonder to me. It’s got the “umpf” in the form of 12 grains, to stand beside my rustic lentils. “Softer” bread may work with maple syrup and elderberries. But wheat berries have the cojones necessary to make this savory French toast soar. (cojones– can I say that on a family blog?).

lentilsSavory French Toast with Black Lentils.  Serves 4

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut in 1/4″ dice
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 2 clove garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 carrot, cut in 1/4″ dice
  • 1 c lentils, preferably black or dark green
  • 4 c beef broth
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 T whole milk
  • 2 t fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 slices whole grain bread cut on the diagonal into a total of 16 triangles
  • Very good olive oil for drizzling

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized Dutch oven or small soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant and translucent. Add the carrots and cook a few moments longer.

Add the lentils to the pan, stirring to get them well coated in oil. Then add 3 cups of the beef broth, the bay leaf and the thyme sprig. Bring to a simmer and season with salt and pepper.

Cook about 5 minutes then taste the broth for salt. Adjust as needed. Continue to cook about 15 minutes more, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, and have absorbed most of the liquid. Remove them from the heat and cover them with a lid. Let rest at least 15 minutes.

When ready to serve add more beef broth and some water if necessary to get this as brothy as you like. I like it somewhat brothy but not too soupy. Just enough to wet the toasts with out letting them get too soggy too fast.

Heat a nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron frying pan over medium heat. In a shallow soup bowl mix the eggs, with the milk, thyme leaves and a tiny bit of salt and a pinch of ground black pepper. Dip the bread triangles into the mixture until well coated. Using your fingers remove some of the egg from each piece and move them to the frying pan. Cook all the toasts until brown on each side. Working in batches as needed.

Move the hot toasts to individual shallow soup bowls, and top them with a helping of lentils. Drizzle a good bit of very good olive oil over the top, and serve warm.


Greg Henry