Bananas Foster French Toast with Crisp Plantains and Spicy Candied Walnuts
Place wire rack on baking sheet. Place toasted nuts in hand-held strainer and submerge in boiling water 30 seconds. Remove and blot dry on paper towel. Toss with powdered sugar. Heat peanut oil in deep fryer or deep sided saucepan until almost smoking. Deep fry nuts in strainer 5 seconds at a time, in 2 batches. Place each batch on prepared wire rack. Mix cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, sugar and salt together. Dust over hot nuts. Let cool. Reserve oil for plantains.
Peel plantain and slice lengthwise into thin strips on mandoline or V-slicer. Reheat peanut oil to 370°F. Drop plantain slices into hot oil and deep fry until crisp and float to top. Remove with slotted spoon or spider and drain on paper towels. Reserve until service.
For French Toast:
Place wire rack on baking sheet. Combine eggs and half and half in shallow bowl or casserole. Whisk to break up eggs. Soak bread slices in egg mixture. Melt butter in large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté soaked bread slices in butter until deep golden brown on both sides, remove to wire rack. Combine cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar, dust over bread. Reserve and keep warm.
Melt butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in small sauté pan over medium heat. When bubbling hot, add liqueur and rum, avert face, and ignite with match or grill lighter. Shake pan until alcohol is burned off and flame dies down. Add banana slices and toss until coated. Set aside, keep warm.
Spoon 1 Tablespoon sauce onto each plate. Top with 2 slices French toast. Form quenelles of ice cream and top French Toast with 2 quenelles each. Spoon more sauce and bananas over ice cream and French Toast. Dust fried plantains with powdered sugar and stand up in ice cream. Garnish each plate with candied walnuts and 1 sprig mint.
Eberle Muscat Canelli, Paso Robles 2002