And so to another childhood recipe, this time from my mother.
You’ve heard of French toast, and all of its Bottomless Brunch forms, but you might not have heard of pamperdy. I did a quick Google before writing this, and the only pamperdy recipe I can find is for a sweet French toast, but that’s not my pamperdy. My pamperdy is something that my extremely talented mother used to make when I was ill, and it’s comforting and tasty and like a breakfast-version of a ham and cheese toastie.
Pamperdy is the medieval English form of pain perdu, which is a way to use up stale “lost bread” – which becomes in our vernacular, French toast. But the pamperdy that I had as a child is savoury, more egg than bread, with a lot of chopped ham and a lot of parsley. The flavour combination feels quite retro, but my God is it comforting.
It needs a lot of butter, mostly I think for the creamy scrambled eggs that brush up against the bread. I remember being ill and feeling far from home in Milan, almost a decade ago, and asking my mother for the recipe. Being 20 in a fashion capital, I balked at the amount of butter. But now – trust the process, it’s so worth it.
1 slice of bread
50g chopped ham
50g chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
1. Beat the eggs with the milk in a shallow dish.
2. Season and add two thirds of the parsley and all of the ham.
3. Dunk the bread in it and leave it to soak for a while.
4. Melt the butter in a frying pan.
5. Fry the bread on both sides until golden.
6. Serve with the rest of the parsley.