Mozzarella & tartufata french toast

par joël geismar de El Camion

4 slices of white bread
1 mozzarella
1 small jar of tartufata (idealy from an
Italian delicatessen)
Plant-based oil, olive or sunfloxer
250ml of milk (whole or half-skimmed)
2 eggs
1 pinch of sea salt flakes
Breadcrumbs (homemade
or Japanese Panko)

Joël has been by our side since our very beginning. He was there with his truck, at Brussels’ Kitchen one year anniversary, serving organic and seasonal hotdogs to our guests. He was there a couple of years later, still with his truck, serving amazing single-colored food at the first, then the second round of Eatcolor. Eight years later, he’s still by our side, to share a drink at Saint-Gilles’ market, our join our chefs’ team at our latest Brunch Club. We fell for his food, but also for his person. He’s without a doubt one of the best encounters we’ve had thanks to Brussels’ Kitchen. Today, he’s sharing with you his recipe for his fried tartufata and mozzarella French toast, which is a good as it is dirty. And even though we’re thrilled to make it at home this week, we simply cannot wait to enjoy it together with him in front of his truck, at Saint-Gilles market. Soon.

Pain Perdu frit, mozzarella et tartufata

Spread the Tartufata on one side of all four pieces of bread, evenly. Add mozzarella cut into slice onto two of them. Assemble the pieces of bread to form sandwiches – one with tartufata and one with tartufata and mozzarella together, then press them down gently.
Cut the sandwiches diagonally to form triangles. Mix the eggs and the milk in a bowl, and add the salt and pepper. Place the breadcrumbs in a plate.
Dip the sandwiches into the milk and egg mix, and coat them evenly on both sides. Then cover them with breadcrumbs, making sure they’re evenly covered, even on the edges.
Fry in the fryer at 170 degrees, on in the pan with olive oil, until they’re golden like croquettes.

Alternatives without Tartufata

Fresh basil: Simply use fresh basil leaves. Place them on top of the mozzarella before assembling the sandwiches.

Wild Bear’s garlic: replace the Tartufata by a Bear’s garlic pesto. Spread it evenly on all four slices, just like for the Tartufata.

Eat hot, with napkins! Beware, it’s amazing!

Tu peux m’en dire plus ?

J’ai commencé avec El Camion il y a presque 15 ans finalement, ça date ! Je sais que je donne l’impression d’être encore un jeune premier mais en fait pas tant que ça ! Avec toujours cette même philosophie, essayer de travailler le plus local le plus bio possible, avec des plats de bistro un peu canailles, en retravaillant la cuisine de rue. Avec des préparations comme le pain perdu frit, ou des hot-dogs à la gueuze Cantillon. Quelques années plus tard j’ai ouvert le Garage à Manger. L’idée était d’avoir une cantine un peu canaille à l’époque. Je l’ai revendu l’année passée. J’ai aidé Damien à ouvrir Fauvette, on a collaboré pendant trois mois. Et maintenant on essaye de se réinventer, parce que les hommes sont confinés mais nos activités aussi. El Camion est confiné, donc on va lancer une petite épicerie/halle au Canard Sauvage, où je vais réaliser des plats du jour format traiteur, avec également quelques produits à la vente. Où il y a déjà actuellement la Ferme du Peuplier qui occupe les lieux d’une façon éphémère. Je suis investi dans la cause du slow-food et du local, et par rapport à l’épicerie, il y aura aussi quelques chouettes collaborations avec des fermes, des fromagers et d’autres restaurateurs.

Your strongest food memory?

What I remember most is what my mom used to make, like most people I think. But then also my young own experiences, as I was often left alone. So around the time when I was 10 or 12, I would experience with recipes in the kitchen, which I would often fail at. It would be for example sandwiches with tons of things in them, covered in cheese and baked. It was also the golden years of the microwave, so I would experience things with that too, which would be, more often than not, just inedible.
Around the same age, I tried an aioli sauce in Cannes, in the Côtes d’Azur, which I still strongly remember up to this day. It was amazing.
Today, I’m really fond of artisans, whatever their specifications, and admire their work. A few years ago, I treated myself for dinner at Bras, alone. Of course the setting was just amazing. There I had their most famous dish, a mix of vegetables from their own garden, and it was out of this world. They call it the Gargouillou. It was incredibly beautiful too. I also keep a great memory of In De Wulf, of course. Those are things that really impressed me, but what I truly love is simple hearty food.

Your favorite place to eat out in Brussels?

It’s always about friends. I love eating at Les Petits Bouchons, and at Bouchéry, of course. I love eating at friend’s places. Les Petits Bouchons is probably closer to what I cook myself, and Damien is more about small things, original things that I tend to master less, especially with all the fresh, among other things. I also love to eat at Friture René. I’m so curious that I’m interested by so many things, but it’s true that my own cooking is closer to Les Petits Bouchons or Friture René. Recently in Paris, I had a great time at La Poule au Pot. I had a classic “île flottante” which was absolutely incredible. That’s actually my strongest most recent food memory, where I was simple like, wow, this is so classic and simple, but my god it’s so good.

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