1 pound strawberries, ends trimmed, left whole (or halved if really big)
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 lemon (juice & zest)
1 pinch of fine sea salt
For the French Toast:
1 (1-pound) loaf challah
1 ¾ cups whole milk
1⁄4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
Kosher salt to taste
Dash of grated nutmeg
Butter, for the skillet
Fresh mint and ground cinnamon for serving
Make the strawberry sauce: Combine the berries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the berries begin to release their liquid and the liquid cooks and thickens, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon zest, and cool to room temperature.
Make the French toast: Preheat the oven to 200°F. Cut the bread into 1½-inch thick slices. In an 8-inch square baking dish, whisk the eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, a few pinches of salt, and the nutmeg.
Dip each piece of bread in the egg mixture for 10 seconds per side if you want lighter, fluffier French toast, or 20 per side for denser creamier French toast. Put the slices of bread on a baking sheet to hold.
Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. Grease the skillet generously with butter and add as many slices of bread as will fit comfortably in one layer. Cook until the bread is golden and toasty, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and keep warm, covered with foil, as you make more batches. Repeat with remaining bread, greasing the skillet again between batches.
Arrange the finished French toast on a platter and dollop with sour cream. Pour the strawberry sauce on top, and garnish with mint and a sprinkle of cinnamon, if you like.