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:
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:
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
4 slices bread
1/4 teaspoon salt
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.