Savory Pain Perdu with Strawberries

I know, I need to get the recipes up for the Stuffed Lamburger, Fishwich, and Stuffed Chicken Thighs Wrapped in Prosciutto, but what I ate this morning was incredibly fantastic, and since all of the ingredients are in season right now (at least in Oregon), so I wanted to get the recipe up post-haste. The idea for this recipe was thought up when the boyfriend and I were in Canada a few weeks ago and making the most out of having a television in our hostel room by watching Food Network and the Discovery Channel whenever we were stagnant. We picked up an episode of Iron Chef: America in which the “battle food” was breakfast. I remember skipping this episode on the boyfriend’s TiVo way back in the day, because I was morally opposed to “breakfast” being the “secret ingredient” in IC:A. Breakfast? Ridiculous. We ended up watching the whole thing and I took as many notes as possible. There was a point where I was trying to figure out how some certain ingredients were going to work together: marscarpone, garlic, basil, and strawberries. It made me think back to the days when my mom and I would go to the garlic festival in Gilroy, California – I had had a strawberry shortcake with garlic cream that was fantastic. But that was over 15 years ago, and who knows how my tongue was working back in those days.

The ingredients on IC:A ended up going to 2 different dishes, but the idea was already rooted into my psyche, and I couldn’t think of anything better to put together for Sunday breakfast.

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Just as a side note for 2 of the ingredients: I ended up using a cheese that was on sale and delicious at Whole Foods – Snofrisk. Since Snofrisk is made from goat cheese and cow’s cream, it has a tang that wouldn’t be matched with just mascarpone itself. It will probably taste fantastic with mascarpone, but I suggest trying snofrisk if it’s available (double-plus on sale) in your area. For the bread, I used 3/4″ slices from a leftover loaf of Piccolo Como from Grand Central Bakery, which is a chain in the great NW USA. This would work well with a soft/chewy-crumb, chewy crust bread like baguette or a slightly sour bread. Okay, onto the food:

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Savory Pain Perdu with Strawberries

Feeds 2-3 hungry Americans

6-3/4″ Slices of Bread{Whisk together}
4 Eggs
3ts Salt
2ts dried Thyme
2ts dried Paprika
1ts rubbed Sage
Dash of freshly-ground pepper

{Thouroughly mix together the following and set aside:}
125g Snofrisk, marscarpone, or similar cheese
2 Tbs Minced fresh garlic
S&P to taste

{Toppings:}
1/2 pint Strawberries, sliced
6 large Basil leaves cut in chiffonade, more whole for decoration

Dip bread in the egg mixture – allow them plenty of time to soak up the liquid on both sides. Cook in either a pan on the stove set to a “low-medium heat” or on a griddle set to 325 degrees. Lightly spray/coat the cooking implement with olive oil. Allow the bread to cook on the first side for about 7 minutes – it should be golden brown before flipping. The second side usually takes 4-5 minutes.

Top the Pain Perdu evenly with the garlic-cheese mixture and layer with strawberry slices with basil on top. Serve with bacon, smoked salmon or whatever meat is at your mercy, and fresh juice (or iced coffee – yum!).

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Next time I’m going to try the cheese mixture with bacon mixed in, which would lend a fantastic smoky/sweet flavor to the savoriness of cheese and garlic (depending what kind of bacon one is using, of course ^_^ ). Like I said before, all of the ingredients are currently in season here in Portland – I can’t go a mile without seeing some market with massive amounts of strawberries. Just remember – quality ingredients help make quality food.