A Maui Morning Breakfast

On family trips to Maui as a kid, one of the things I always looked the most forward to was macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup. Now I visit the islands with my own kids, and one of the things they look most forward to is my King’s Hawaiian Bread french toast with coconut syrup and Portuguese sausage (another staple of the Hawaiian diet). Served with a big cup on Kona or Kauai coffee and a pile of fresh tropical fruit, there’s no better way to start the day.

King’s Hawaiian Bread French toast with macadamia nuts, coconut syrup and Portuguese sausage

There is a certain let down to eating Hawaiian food on the Mainland. My famous Ono island ribs, for example, just don’t taste quite the same without the plumeria-scented trade winds, crashing waves and gently shh-shing palm trees. Eating Hawaiian food at home is more like looking at photographs of a vacation — rekindling fond memories of paradise. However, good Hawaiian food served anywhere is still delicious. And this is one of the best breakfasts ever.

There’s nothing particularly “native” about King’s Hawaiian Bread. It was invented by the son of Japanese immigrants in the 1950s in Hilo, and today is made in Torrance, California, about an hour south of here. Likewise macadamia nuts — native to Australia — and Portuguese sausage, another adopted immigrant taste. But who wants to eat poi for breakfast? And together, all these flavors taste as definitively Hawaiian as a slice of ahi sashimi and a can of Primo beer.

So whether you’ve been to the Hawaiian Islands or not, whether you live in Walla Walla or Weehawken, this is one breakfast that will have you feeling the spirit of aloha. Serve with Kona coffee, if possible. And enjoy.

*   *   *

Hawaiian sweet bread French toast with Portuguese sausage
serves 2-4

1/2 loaf (1/2 lb.) King’s Hawaiian sweet bread
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 5-oz. Portuguese sausage
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
coconut syrup

Cut Hawaiian bread into strips about 1 inch thick. Whisk together eggs and milk. Carefully place bread strips into mixture, turning gently to coat. Set aside.

Cook Portuguese sausage over medium heat in a large pan with a little oil until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove to a plate and keep warm in a 180-degree oven.

In the same pan, melt butter over medium heat. Carefully turn bread strips again to make sure all are coated and have soaked up the milk/egg mixture. Lift them gently, one at a time, into the pan. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each of two widest sides, until browned. When you turn to the second side, toss macadamia nuts over the top of the slices and into the pan. (Some will stick to the bread, some will toast in the pan.)

Remove from heat and plate bread slices onto plates, topping with any additional macadamia nuts in the pan. Drizzle each plate generously with coconut syrup.

Remove the sausage from the oven. Slice diagonally at about 1/2 inch, and place a few slices on each plate. Serve immediately.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle
    Aug 29, 2012 @ 03:45:01

    I’ve never been to Hawaii. I mean, from here, I could get to Europe several times with the same amount of air time. But, you’re making me reconsider. Sausage + dessert for breakfast? I’m in!


    • scolgin
      Aug 29, 2012 @ 14:03:42

      I know what you mean — we’re jealous of y’all since it takes a Ulyssean effort for us to get to Europe. But we’ve got Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska!


  2. rachelocal
    Aug 29, 2012 @ 23:26:51

    So what makes your island ribs famous? 🙂


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