I’m not much of a standard sandwich eater, but I love toast. Not boring white bread toast spread with a pat of butter, mind you, but hearty whole wheat bread with substantial toppings. So after Melissa picked Mark Bittman’s whole wheat baguettes for this week’s Food Matters Project recipe, I decided to turn it into a toast recipe. You could call it an open-faced sandwich, tartine or crostini if you wish, but we’re really talking about toasted bread with toppings.
I thumbed through the appetizer section of some cookbooks for inspiration, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to share my favorite kind of toast—avocado toast. Sea salt-flecked, buttery avocado spread onto well-toasted bread is a delicacy, vraiment. I resisted the idea initially because I thought it too easy, too simple to post, but out of fear that perhaps some of you haven’t experienced the joy of avocado toast, I’m dedicating an entire post to it. Yeah, toast!
After furiously catching up on design work yesterday morning, I mixed together Mark Bittman’s baguette dough at a rushed pace in the afternoon. Baking requires a clear head and exact measurements, however, and in my haste I added a tablespoon or two too much water. The dough ended up being very sticky and more like batter than a ball of dough. I also subbed whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour, which may explain why it didn’t rise very high. My baked baguettes looked more like Sarah’s crescent-shaped biscotti than Melissa’s pretty, rounded loaves. Regardless, the bread tastes great and has a surprising amount of flavor for dough that rested for only an hour.
Once my loaves were ready to go, I started pulling all of my potential avocado toast toppings out of the fridge. I used my new vegetable peeler to shave asparagus and radishes and tossed them with olive oil and sea salt. I toasted sunflower seeds and washed arugula. Then I mashed avocado with lemon juice spread it on toasted slices of baguette and sprinkled them with sea salt. After photographing and taste testing them all, I can honestly say that each one is incredible. I don’t think you can go wrong here.
If I had to choose a favorite, I’d pick the radish-topped toast. The super thin slices of radish lent a zesty bite and extra crunch. Joy prefers to keep it simple with lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper. Kasey adds cilantro and a poached egg. Heidi likes hers with arugula, asparagus, pepitas and caraway seeds. New York’s Café Gitane charges $6.25 for their famous avocado toast, which is lemony avocado served with a sprinkling of sea salt, red pepper flakes and a drizzle of olive oil on seven-grain toast. I found a ton of other ideas in the comments at The Kitchn, but what I really want to know is, how do you prefer your avocado toast? And if you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for?!
- Whole wheat bread, sliced (try this no-work whole wheat baguette recipe)
- Sea salt
- Lemon or lime juice (optional but recommended)
- Additional toppings, all optional: black pepper, red pepper flakes, quality olive oil, hot sauce, greens, shaved radish, asparagus or carrots, toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds, thinly sliced shallot or purple onion, sliced cherry tomatoes and so forth. Also, put an egg on it!
- Toast your slices of bread well.
- Slice the avocado in half, lengthwise, and remove the pit. Use a big spoon to scoop out the flesh. Put it in a bowl and mash it up with a fork. Mix in a squeeze of lemon or lime (optional).
- Smash some avocado on top of your toast and top it with a light sprinkle of sea salt (mandatory!). Enjoy as-is or top with any of the listed ingredients above.
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