French Toast with Grilled Bananas

Sunday BrunchWhen I got into the kitchen to cook brunch this morning, I still had no idea what I was going to cook.  I had eggs, bacon, cheese – all the usual stuff – and knew that I could make cheese grits or spoon bread and no one would complain.  But I wanted to do something different and post the recipe so I began taking stock of what was laying around.  I spied a bag of ripe bananas we’d picked up on sale at the store yesterday, and thought “Hmmm…banana bread” before I realized I had no baking soda.  Then I thought about the white bread sitting on the counter and remembered I had some honey in the pantry as well as some maple syrup.

So we had grilled bananas over French toast.  It’s hard to believe that anyone could be lukewarm about this dish, but – you guessed it – The Young One managed to be.  He refused the bananas and syrup and ate the toast plain.  The nice thing about this French toast, though, is that it’s pretty good plain or with just a dusting of powdered sugar.  Topped with the grilled bananas and just a drizzle of pure maple syrup and accompanied by some crisp bacon, it’s simply sublime.

French Toast with Grilled Bananas

serves 3 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish

Grilled Bananas

2 – 3 large ripe bananas

3 – 4 tablespoons honey

Ground cinnamon, optional

Peel the bananas and cut into long, diagonal slices.  Heat the honey in the microwave or small saucepan until very fluid.  Toss the bananas with the honey in a shallow bowl until all of the slices are coasted (this can be done 1 to 2 hours in advance).  Heat a cast-iron skillet (preferably a ridged one) over high heat until very hot but not smoking.  Quickly lay coated banana slices in a single layer in the pan and sprinkle with the cinnamon, if desired.  Grill about 1 minute on each side, cooking in batches if necessary; transfer to a plate and keep warm.

French Toast

2/3 cups half and half

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, or granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 slices white bread, with or without crusts

Thoroughly whisk together all of the ingredients except the bread in a large, shallow bowl.  Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and melt enough butter to coat the surface.  Dip the bread, one slice at a time, into the egg mixture, turning until thoroughly saturated but not falling apart.  Add as many slices of bread to the skillet or griddle as will fit without crowding and cook until the underside is golden brown.  Turn the bread and cook until the second side is golden.  Keep warm until all the toast has been cooked.

Top with grilled bananas and drizzle with maple syrup, if desired.

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