French Friday’s with Dorie
If I were going to write a cookbook entitled “Around My Childhood Table” filled with all the stuff I ate as a kid I would certainly include a dozen different versions of this dish. All of mom’s versions, no matter the ingredients, were always referred to as “Stuff on Toast”. Each night mom felt pressured to rustle up a decent dinner for us kids without time for serious menu planning her creativity and a loaf of bread would take over.
“Mom, what’s for dinner?”
“I don’t know. Probably Stuff on Toast.”
Yay! This was certainly not a bad thing as far as we were concerned. She was as artful with her interpretations as Dorie Greenspan is here with hers. Mom would cream up whatever she had on hand, put it on toast and then call it dinner — all much to our delight. Half a bag of frozen vegetables, leftover creamed spinach and a package of chipped beef or canned tuna — even week-old hard boiled Easter eggs and a bag of peas would be transformed with the help of a small amount of cream and some seasonings. And toast, of course.
Far from an appetizer, Stuff on Toast is a fancy breakfast, an elegant brunch, a smart lunch, or a week-night dinner. Its no real recipe, but it is everything. And gosh. Don’t we know by now that with a runny egg on top it is at home at even the fanciest of French Tables?
Stuff on Toast: Creamy Mushrooms and Eggs
Serving Stuff on Toast on a crispy slice of challah with a dusting of fresh herbs certainly gives this lowbrow dinner concept a highbrow panache that my mother never really bothered with. But not by much. Who knew we were eating fancy French food way back when?
Choose your stuff. Melt a tablespoon or two of butter in a pan and cook some chopped shallot or a couple tablespoons of finely chopped onion until just soft. Add your stuff and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until soft. When your stuff is soft, add 1/2 cup cream and bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add about 2 teaspoons of fresh herbs. Dorie uses mint and rosemary but I love stuff with tarragon or even oregano if your stuff suits it.
Spoon stuff over a piece of toast and add an egg. Dorie suggests a poached egg on top and offers a few methods. Lately I haven’t bothered with poached eggs when soft boiled are so much easier. I’ll save my method for another, more ‘revolutionary’ post.
The actual recipe by Dorie provides more detail than I do. If you thrive on actual instructions the full recipe can be found here.