Vanilla French Toast with Macerated Strawberries
and spinach salad
With Mother's Day on Sunday, we wanted this week to include a brunch-friendly option, and this colorful meal will be great saved for the weekend or as a midweek breakfast-for-dinner.
Smarts: Macerated strawberries are simply fresh strawberries tossed with a bit of sugar. The sugar draws out moisture and creates a beautiful red strawberry syrup that is a great stand-in for maple syrup (but feel free to serve syrup on the side too if you'd like).
- Strawberries - 2 cups , quartered or sliced if large
- Sugar - 1 Tbsp
- Mint, fresh (opt) - 4 leaves , very finely chopped
- Eggs - 4
- Milk - 1 cup
- Sugar - 1 tsp
- Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
- Cinnamon, ground - 1/2 tsp
- Butter - 2 Tbsp , plus more for serving
- Bread, thick-cut - 8 slices (brioche bread is great here)
- Vinegar, balsamic - 1 1/2 Tbsp
- Mustard, Dijon - 1 tsp
- Oil, olive - 3 Tbsp
- Strawberries - 1 cup , quartered or sliced if large
- Baby spinach - 6 oz
- Goat cheese - 3 oz , crumbled (sub feta)
- Almonds, sliced or slivered (opt) - 1/4 cup
Macerate strawberries - Slice into quarters (if prepping ahead, just slice the portion for the macerated strawberries). Stir in sugar (portion for strawberries). Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to a day. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
Make vinaigrette - Whisk together vinegar, mustard, and olive oil. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Strawberries (portion for salad) / Mint - Prep as directed.
Eggs - Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar (portion for toast), vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon. Pour into a baking dish or shallow bowl.
Working with one slice of bread at a time, add it to the dish with the whisked eggs and turn to coat. Let excess egg mixture drip off and then transfer bread to buttered pan. Sear bread on both sides until completely cooked through and golden brown on the outside, 2 to 4 minutes per side. (Note: Reduce temperature as needed to insure that the bread heats all the way through while the outside stays golden.) Do this in batches if needed, adding some more butter between each batch. Set cooked French toast aside, covered to keep warm.
When French toast is done, spread baby spinach out in a large serving bowl. Top with strawberries (portion for the salad), goat cheese, and almonds. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Add some fresh-cracked black pepper on top if you’d like.
Stir mint into macerated strawberries.
Divide French toast between serving plates. Top with macerated strawberries (including some of the liquid that has gathered in the bottom of the bowl, which is a great stand-in for traditional syrup). Enjoy with salad on the side.