Old-fashioned Onion Toast

Sometimes simple foods are the best. Toast toppers are a favorite of mine for lunch or a light dinner, so when I saw a recipe for Onion Toast in a hundred-year-old magazine, I had to give it a try.

Mild, sweet onion slices embedded in a rich, creamy sauce are served over a classic French toast.  The bread was soaked in beaten eggs, and then grilled to create a delightful French toast that added an unexpected, but delightful, dimension to this dish.

In days gone by, this simple dish was probably seen as a way to stretch budgets when money was tight – but I would put this dish in the category of gourmet comfort food. This recipe is a keeper, and will become part of my repertoire of recipes that I regularly make.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (August, 1917)

When I made this recipe I wasn’t exactly sure what a Bermuda onion was, so I googled it and determined that it was a large, mild onion. But I was surprised to discover that in the late 1800s and early 1900s that large quantities of onions actually were imported into the U.S. from Bermuda. According to the Bermuda 4U website, after Mark Twain visited Bermuda, he wrote about its wonderful onions in Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion:

The onion is the pride and joy of Bermuda. It is her jewel, her gem of gems. In her conversation, her pulpit, her literature, it is her most frequent and eloquent figure. In Bermuda metaphor it stands for perfection — perfection absolute.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Onion Toast

  • Servings: 2 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Onion Sauce

2 onions, sliced (about 1 1/4 cups sliced onions)

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 cup milk

French Toast

2 eggs

4 slices bread

1/4 teaspoon salt

pepper

butter

Onion Sauce: Melt butter in a skillet using medium-low heat, then add the onion slices and saute until the onions become soft and translucent.  Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Slowly add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until hot and bubbly. Remove from heat and serve over the French Toast.

French Toast: Beat eggs with a fork, then stir in salt and a dash of pepper.  Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture then place on a hot griddle that has been generously greased with butter. Using medium heat, grill until the bottom side of the bread is browned, then flip and cook the other side.

Cook’s notes: The original recipe called for 6 slices of bread, but I used 4 slices. I only had enough of the beaten eggs to coat 4 slices – and the amount of onion sauce seemed about right for 4 slices. I also did not scald the milk prior to stirring it into the onion mixture.

18 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Onion Toast

  1. My favorite onion is the Texas 1015 — which I just discovered began with the Bermuda, and is related to the Vidalia.

    I’ve never heard of a French toast used with anything savory rather than sweet. I love cooked onions, and I love French toast, so what’s not to like about this? The only thing I can think of that might make it even better is the addition of some mushrooms.

  2. To grill your bread with egg and seasoning that’s a great idea! I’ve eaten this before but just toasted the bread with butter. I wonder if the old recipe calls for scalded milk because onions can curd your milk if cooked too long to hard at least with fresh milk it will. I’ve done it …nasty looking even though it doesn’t change the taste.😁

  3. This took me back! French toast is what we as children used to call Eggy Bread – so delicious! I haven’t eaten it in ages …. but definitely think it’s worth revisiting with this yummy and simple onion sauce.

  4. I so want to make this for dinner tonight. My husband isn’t fond of onions, so more for me. Also would not have thought to use a french toast for something like this, today’s conception of it is certainly sweet.

  5. Oh how lovely!!! One response asked about Vidalia onions. I used Shallots and nothing changed, I assumed. Perfect breakfast, lunch and or dinner item. I’m thrilled with this new opportunity.

  6. Thank you so much for this recipe! It is de-lish! I am gluten-sensitive so subbed Measure for Measure (for the flour) & GF Udi bread, and also can’t handle much dairy so used rice milk and it came out perfectly. Will be offering this when my daughters and I do brunch : )

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