Weekend Cooking

Crunchy Panko French Toast With Maple-Candied Bacon

September 26, 2019
4 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne. Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 1
Author Notes

This single-serving French toast recipe came to me out of spontaneous necessity. Save for a couple stale slices of bread and a single egg, my fridge was empty. And though I can't argue that this would be, universally, a "pantry raid" recipe, it is for me in my kitchen: I happen to always have bread crumbs (especially panko) and packets of roasted seaweed snack on hand. It makes so much sense, anyway, to crust the French toast in panko before frying it in butter. The result is a brilliantly savory crust, which stays super crunchy even after drowned in good, runny maple syrup. The salty seaweed makes sense, too, in the comfortingly bland grits, and goes with the savory-inflected palate of the spread. A side of lacquered, maple-candied bacon is optional, but strongly recommended. This is French toast for one—and for one alone. —Eric Kim

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: I Think We Can All Agree That This Is the Worst Meal to Pay For. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Panko-crusted French toast
  • 1 large organic egg
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 slice bread, such as brioche, about 1-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Maple syrup, for serving
  • Maple-candied bacon and grits
  • 2 to 4 slices bacon (however many you can eat in one sitting)
  • Maple syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking grits
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 packet (5g) roasted seaweed snack, crushed with your hands
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. For the French toast, whisk together the egg, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt in a shallow dish. Soak the bread slice in this custard, ensuring thorough soakage on both sides. Let this sit awhile as you prepare the bacon and grits.
  2. Place the bacon on a foil-lined quarter sheet pan into a cold oven. Turn the heat on to 400°F and roast about 20 minutes. Take out of the oven, drizzle maple syrup over both slices, and place back into oven 5 more minutes to candy. (Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.) Plate immediately, then set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small pot, bring the water, milk, and quick-cooking grits to a simmer (this will seem like too much water and too little grits, but trust me; the grits will swell up considerably, and all that water will make them nice and tender). Once brought to a simmer, cook 5 minutes, or until slightly thicker but still loose. Add butter, crumble in the roasted seaweed snack, season with salt and pepper, and stir. Keep covered until ready to eat. (Optional: Sometimes I add a dribble of sesame oil here to enhance the nutty flavor of the seaweed snack.)
  4. Your bread slice should be thoroughly soaked now, even mushy. Place panko onto another plate or cutting board, then carefully add the bread to it, pressing gently to coat both sides with crumbs. You may have to flip a few times, but once generously covered, the toast should be sturdier and easier to handle.
  5. To fry the French toast, heat a skillet over medium-low, then add the butter, allowing it to melt so you're left with a nice puddle in which the panko can properly fry. Add toast and cook until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes, then flip to cook the other side, 3 to 4 minutes again. Season with a final pinch of salt, if desired, and eat with maple syrup, bacon, and grits.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • zEmfIrKa
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
  • gizmo
  • kduffy102
Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.

6 Reviews

gizmo May 1, 2023
So delicious. 10/10 recommend! I will be making my grits this way alaways!!
kduffy102 January 12, 2020
Our favorite holiday breakfast includes maple-glazed bacon and French toast made with LaBrea's Cheddar-Jalapeno bread. Panko to crust the bread sounds like it will take it to the next level! Thanks.
Linda R. October 9, 2019
I made just the french toast-- it came out great! I loved the extra crunch the panko gives it.
Eric K. October 9, 2019
I'm so glad! Thanks for trying it, Linda.
zEmfIrKa September 27, 2019
The french toast looks divine and the maple-candy bacon sounds excellent as well. Must try this weekend! :)
Eric K. September 27, 2019
Please let me know how it goes. I am, obviously, a devotee.