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Brioche French Toast at Provenance

Provenance's Brioche French Toast

There is no meal that says spring like brunch. It’s at once optimistic and decadent, knowing nothing of long winters. It represents a new dawn, filled with endless potential, then postponed until 11 a.m.-ish, the better to catch up on your sleep.

Undoubtedly, the flagship of any good brunch is French toast. The dish has humble roots – it was invented to make use of stale bread crusts – but has since become a sign of Sunday fun-day’s leisurely excess. At Provenance in Newport Beach, chef Cathy Pavlos makes a French toast that manages to feel both European-rustic and American-indulgent. Her brioche is fluffy with just the right amount of pan-crispness. The fresh berry compote reminds you of your great aunt’s jam and its sticky sweetness is balanced nicely by tart, lime-infused Greek yogurt. As a final touch, Pavlos looks to her on-site garden for mint, adding just the right measure of brightness.

The dish is a picture of spring – playful and fresh – which is exactly what makes it such a perfect addition to Provenance’s exceptional brunch.

Provenance, 2531 Eastbluff Drive, Newport Beach 949.718.0477 :: provenanceoc.com

Provenance Berry Compote (scaled for four)

Three cups mixed fresh berries, such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries (You can also use frozen berries, but you then have to add some cornstarch at the end, because the frozen berries release more juice)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 orange, for both juice and zest
2 Tbsp. butter
1 pinch of sea salt

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, combine the orange juice, zest and sugars and bring it to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Cook about 2 minutes and then add the berries, and return to a simmer.
Simmer the berries for about 2 minutes, then add the butter and sea salt, and swirl mixture around in the pan until butter melts.

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