THE WASHINGTON POST) - Savoury French toast is a concept I can get behind, and Nigella Lawson does a turn with Parmesan cheese and sourdough in her cookbook, At My Table. I substituted bread for the next best thing: whole-wheat pitas.
As it happens, they are truly the right vehicle for the makings of stuffed French toast, savoury or sweet. Cut into half moons, their resulting pockets provide the right amount of space for tucking in cheese, and, in this case, a deftly seasoned batch of ground turkey that will convince you it’s sausage.
Bonus: There’s almost no knife work involved, and just one pan.
You dunk the stuffed packets in an eggy milk mixture; unlike when you make sweet French toast, you can cook up whatever’s left of that mixture after your pitas are done. And they get done pretty quickly, because the turkey patties are cooked first in the pan and remain warm while you assemble and cook the pitas to golden brown.
They are surprisingly filling, crisp and tender at the same time. Some millennials I know (who are not related to me) have declared these cheesy pitas would make good “drunk food". Enough said about that.
If you have already shredded/grated Parm, you’ll save a step.
Cheesy French Toast
Pitas 2 to 4 servings
Fill half moons of the pocket bread with Parmesan and a quick DIY mix of seasoned ground turkey, add an optional layer of greens or sweet peppers, and then dip each stuffed pita in an egg-milk batter and cook it like French toast. A savoury breakfast for dinner (or late-night “drunk food”) is yours.
Serve with your favourite salsa or roasted tomato halves.
Loosely based on a recipe from Nigella Lawson’s At My Table: A Celebration Of Home Cooking (Flatiron Books, 2018).
For the ground turkey
450g ground turkey (light or dark meat)
1 tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
Leaves from 3 stems fresh thyme (may substitute 1 tsp dried thyme)
1 tsp celery seed
½ tsp dehydrated onion flakes
⅛ tsp ground cayenne pepper
For the pitas
One 56g chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half Freshly ground black pepper
2 whole-wheat pita breads (6-inch rounds)
Fresh salad greens or frozen/defrosted spinach (optional)
Sweet peppers (optional)
1. For the ground turkey: Combine the ground turkey, salt, black pepper, thyme leaves, celery seed, onion flakes and cayenne pepper in a mixing bowl; use your clean hands to blend well.
2. Divide into 4 equal portions, then shape each one into a flat patty that will fit inside a half-moon pita.
3. Grease a nonstick skillet with cooking oil spray and place over medium heat. Clean the mixing bowl.
4. Arrange the patties in the hot skillet; cook for 9 to 11 minutes total, turning them as needed. The patties should be browned and just cooked through (firm to the touch, 165 degrees at the center using an instant-read thermometer). Transfer to a plate and cover loosely to keep warm.
5. While they are cooking, prepare the pitas: Grate the cheese onto a cutting board. Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half and a pinch of the black pepper in the clean mixing bowl.
6. Cut each pita in half, forming two half moons. Open each one along the cut side and fill with a good pinch of the cheese, then a cooked turkey patty, more of the cheese and the greens or peppers, if desired.
7. Use paper towel to wipe out the skillet you used for the turkey; re-grease with cooking oil spray; place over medium heat.
8. Working with one stuffed pita at a time, hold the cut side closed as you dip the pita into the egg mixture; tip to drain slightly and then place in the hot skillet.
9. Cook for a total of 6 minutes, turning to cook both sides, until golden brown and you can see that some of the cheese has melted. Some of the egg mixture may ooze out into the pan; use your fingers (careful!) to press the stuffed pitas down; use a spatula to push it back into the pitas as they cook. (It’s just softly scrambled eggs.)
10. Feel free to cook up the remaining egg mixture afterward, in the same pan, or discard the mixture.
11. Cut each pita in half, for easy eating. Serve hot.