CHEF COLUMN: Try topping your French toast with wild mushrooms

Wild mushrooms on French toast with crispy duck egg
Wild mushrooms on French toast with crispy duck egg

This week sous chef Shan van den Bergh, at the Sofitel London Gatwick, turns a childhood favourite into a hearty lunch – perfect after a long autumn walk.

When I was growing up in South Africa my favourite weekend brunch was French toast – bread that is soaked in beaten egg then fried. We topped it with bacon and then added maple syrup.

Shan van den Bergh

Shan van den Bergh

As we’re now into autumn, try topping French toast with wild mushrooms. I serve this dish with a crispy, soft-boiled duck egg on the side.

Each stage is simple and you can prepare the duck eggs for frying in advance. Then, when you’re out with friends or family for a walk and want to invite them back for lunch, you’ll be able to serve up what I call ‘posh mushrooms on toast’ within 20 minutes. The sauce also goes well with pasta.

l To book a table at La Brasserie, call 01293 567070 and select 3 for dining. Or email SLG@sofitelgatwick.com. Follow us on Twitter @SofitelLondonGA.

Wild Mushrooms on French Toast with a Crispy Duck Egg

Serves 4

4 duck eggs

1 beaten egg

Plain flour for coating

Panko breadcrumbs

For the French toast:

4 thick slices of brioche from a loaf

2 beaten eggs

100ml single cream

Tablespoon of finely chopped fresh thyme, parsley, chives

Olive oil for frying

Salt and white pepper

For the mushroom sauce:

250g wild mushrooms

2 shallots finely diced

1 clove of garlic crushed

1 tablespoon olive oil

100ml white wine

150ml single cream

50g grated fresh parmesan

Pinch of fresh tarragon

Salt and white pepper

Olive oil for frying

Shavings of parmesan

Method

Prepare the duck eggs in advance. Carefully drop them into boiling water and boil for 5 minutes exactly. Remove with a slotted spoon and cool.

Peel carefully. Roll in the plain flour, then the beaten egg. Coat with breadcrumbs. Repeat with the beaten egg and breadcrumbs until the duck eggs are fully coated. At this stage they can be placed in the fridge until ready to cook the rest of the dish.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan, and gently sweat the shallot and garlic so that is starts to soften but doesn’t colour. Add the mushrooms and stir until they begin to release some juice.

Pour in the white wine and continue to cook until the liquid has almost evaporated. Add the double cream and heat through. Stir in the parmesan cheese and then carefully season with salt and white pepper to taste. Turn off the heat but keep warm.

Heat a deep fat fryer to 160oc and add the duck eggs, cooking for about 2 minutes until golden brown. Drain.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the 100ml single cream and fresh herbs. Soak the brioche slices in the egg for 20 seconds each side. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and fry the brioche until golden brown on each side.

To serve: place the brioche on warm plates and top with the wild mushroom sauce. Add the duck eggs and garnish with shavings of parmesan.

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