Sweet eggy bread with caramelized onions & bacon lardons

In my house, this is called French toast. Which I’m sure would cause horror to any French person. But back in 80’s Ireland, it was the closest thing we had. The caramelized onions addition came later along with the bacon lardons which might have been seen as very posh streaky bacon cubes back in the day. I tell ya the arrival of Lidl & Aldi have a lot to answer for to the Irish palette. Either way, this is seriously delicious and a brilliant hangover breakfast or brunch idea. You can vary the number of eggs & bread depending on the number of people you have. It’s all about the caramelized onion really. Elegantly this should feed 4, but in my house, we just about manage 3. If you want to butter the bread on both sides, fire away. I do it with or without. I find if the butter is cold it can break the bread. So melt it slightly and just brush it on.

  • 8 Slices thick white or brioche bread
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 2-3 eggs whisked
  • A dash of milk
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 x 50g squares real butter (1 is for the onions the other the bread. Use, less if you want)
  • 4 heaped tablespoons soft brown sugar
  • A splash of olive oil
  • 200g bacon lardons or streaky bacon cubed
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon of melted butter for coating bread (optional)

Directions:

  1. Beat the eggs, milk and cinnamon together in a wide bowl.
  2. Take the crust off the bread and coat with the butter if you are doing this step. 
  3. Get a large pan on medium-high heat. Add the bacon lardons and brown until almost crispy then remove from the pan. If they start to stick turn down the heat and add a drop of oil.
  4. Using the same pan on medium heat add the onions, half of one of your butter squares and the brown sugar. Add the remaining half of the butter and stir. If you need more sugar just add some. It should be like a toffee syrup and the onions soft. A dash of water can keep it as a syrup.
  5. Put the bacon back into the onions once they are done and a dash of water to keep the sauce loose. set aside.
  6. Heat your oven to about 100C to keep everything warm as your frying. (In case you can’t do all the bread at once).
  7. Now for the bread: Heat a second pan on medium heat, adding half the butter and the dash of olive oil to stop it burning. Dip the bread into the egg, coating both sides and pop into the pan. I normally have a few dipped before I turn the pan on. 
  8. Cook for 2-3 minutes both sides until golden brown.
  9. Put on a plate and top with some of the onion & bacon mixtures. I layer mine as I’m cooking them. Bread, onion, bread onion finishing with onion popping into the warm oven as I go.
  10. Serve with a dusting of icing sugar.

Note: you can make a vegan version of this using a sweet batter, vegan egg substitute, and no bacon. it’s all about the caramelized onions in this dish. Oil instead of butter won’t work except for frying and neither will margarine. 

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