Tag Archives: toast

How Is Clam Toast Not One of the Seven Fishes?

Every Wednesday night, Bon Appétit food director Carla Lalli Music takes over our newsletter with a sleeper-hit recipe from the Test Kitchen vault. It gets better: If you sign up for our newsletter, you’ll get this letter before everyone else.

One of the seven fishes

There are many ways to participate in Feast of the Seven Fishes, the legendary Italian Christmas Eve sea creature celebration.

There’s the hardest way, in which at least seven fishes need to appear, a challenging and potentially exhausting undertaking that’s only doable if you have a lot of cooks in the kitchen alongside you. (In my family, we’re loyal to my mother’s majestic menu, which takes three days to prep, and then my mom, my sister, and I cook all the courses for 16 of our closest friends. Everyone stays up until 3 a.m. and we need two days to recover.)

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There’s the medium way, which is good for people who are ambitious but not insane and just want to take the fishes for a spin. For these strategic-realistic folks, I recommend Andy Baraghani’s achievable but still impressive dinner, which smartly combines make-ahead dishes, a hands-off, slow-roasted fish, and one à la minute pasta.

seafood spaghetti with mussels and shrimp

Photo by Chelsie Craig, styling by Judy Mancini

But for those of you who go all-out on Christmas Day and can’t pull together a huge multi-course dinner party on the 24th, I’ve got a mini-feast for you, and it’s called clams on toast.

That’s right: Clams on toast. The recipe is from Hart’s restaurant in Brooklyn, and it is like having linguine with clams except without the linguine. In place of the linguine, you get a giant hunk of fried bread, and instead of a sauce that clings to the noodles, you get a shallow bowl of herb-flecked, garlic-and-wine-infused, red chile–studded broth, which you’ll quickly realize is what the bread is for.

Of course, there are also clams, one of the easiest and most forgiving of all of the fishes in the sea. As long as you buy small, fresh, hard-shelled clams (ideally littlenecks on the east coast, Manila clams on the west), you’re off to a great start. Scrub the shells to dislodge any sand or grit, and throw out any with shells that gape open after you’ve tapped them against your countertop (those ones are dead).

The broth-sauce starts with olive oil, chopped pancetta, and garlic. Strictly speaking, The Feast is a fasting meal, so technically you shouldn’t eat meat on Christmas Eve. (I find that hilarious considering you can quite literally enjoy seven courses of seafood during a fast, but that’s one of the great things about Italian traditions.) To omit the pancetta, just add an extra tablespoon of olive oil to compensate for the missing fat. Then you add onion, fennel, white wine, bay leaf, some lemon zest, and ground fennel, which becomes the base for the clam steaming liquid. The clams go in with some more wine (use the bottle you’re planning to drink with dinner). Once you throw a lid on that pot, the clams will steam, and when they’re open, they’re done. As their shells unhinge, the clams release their liquor into the sauce, which you will then sop up with your fried bread.

This may amount to just one dish, but I believe it’s special and flavorful enough to feast on. And if you eat at least seven clams, I think it ought to qualify.

Get the recipe:

Clam Toasts with Pancetta


French Toast Casserole

Place a rack in top third of oven; preheat to 325°. Let bread sit out at room temperature while oven preheats, at least 30 minutes. Uncover pan, tilt, and ladle custard back over tops of bread. Press down once more to submerge. Brush tops of bread with 3 Tbsp. melted butter. Sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake bread until it is lightly golden, puffed, and pulling away from edges of pan, and butter is bubbling, 30–40 minutes.


This Overnight French Toast Casserole Is the Holiday Breakfast As Exciting as Presents

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except whoever hasn’t wrapped their presents yet. Someone already breaking into the eggnog. Someone on the phone with FedEx because the ergonomic socks they ordered never arrived. Mom, freaking out. Dad, freaking out. Kids bouncing off the walls tracking Santa on some bogus website sponsored by Big Candy. NO ONE IS SNUG. IT IS CHAOS.

Except your overnight French toast, all comfy in the biggest casserole pan you own, covered in custard, waiting patiently to be unwrapped for breakfast the next morning. Take a photo with it in your jammies, send it to @mollybaz and say, “Thanks for the overnight French toast, I’m going to wear it all day! It fits perfectly! I love it!”

This recipe is your holiday feeding-a-boatload breakfast solution, all of the prep takes place the night before serving, and that prep is: slicing and toasting bread, mixing some eggs with milk and cinnamon, and assembling a shingled masterpiece, and shoving it in the fridge. The day of, you pour some butter on top and bake. And hey, it works for all kinds of crowds, not just Hallmark movie family unit clichés. I made it recently for two of the people I will spend Christmas with: my boyfriend and my great aunt. We ate ALL OF IT. The recipe feeds six. IT WAS SAVAGE.

A few details guarantee a French toast better than most:

The bread: Use challah or brioche. Those eggy breads will soak up the custard like a sponge. However, you MUST toast the bread (in the oven) first so that when it gets covered in liquid it keeps its shape and doesn’t get soggy and gross. So yes, you need to turn the oven on, but maybe it was already on for some cookies or something?

baked french toast

Photo by Chelsie Craig, Food Styling by Kate Buckens

Make it rain.

Triple dairy threat: The custard is a ton of eggs, plus a combo of whole milk and heavy cream, because it’s CHRISTMAS, COME ON. The third dairy is a dollop of crème fraîche on every serving, the metaphorical tiny present you find under the tree after all the presents have been opened—and inside the ring box is a dollop of crème fraîche.

That’s pretty much it, honestly. You smush the bread under the custard with a spatula, then soak it all overnight (make room in the fridge! This can also just be for two hours!), cover with melted butter and coarse sugar in the morning, and bake it for half an hour until puffy, golden, and crispy around the edges. The pieces on the bottom of my casserole were pudding-like and gooey good, the pieces on top were crispier like cinnamon toast. A bite that combines both is sensational. Now let’s get to the presents.

Get the recipe: