While a recipe for avocado toast might seem wholly unnecessary, it is the technique here that warrants recording. My avocado toast is an affair of mashed and sliced (or spooned) avocados on charred bread; since avocadoes can be bland, the mash ensures every bite is seasoned, while the large pieces are smooth and cool and meaty. This combination of textures and the balance of fat, heat, and astringency is remarkably habit-forming.
By the by, although brine from pickled jalapeños (page 271) sounds odd as an ingredient, it can take the place of the lemon juice for extra piquancy. Or, channel Jackson Pollock, and splatter toasts with Shaken Sesame Dressing (page 268).
Serves 2 for lunch, 4 as a snack
2 to 4 slices bread (see Note)
1 small clove garlic (optional)
2 large, ripe avocados
Fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar, as needed
Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons shimichi togarashi (hot Japanese spice mix), gochugaru (Korean ground red pepper powder), or crushed red pepper flakes
A few handfuls of sprouts or cress
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Heat a cast-iron griddle pan over medium-high heat. Grill the bread on each side until well marked, maybe 3 minutes per side, depending on your pan. Slice the garlic in half and rub one cut side on each slice of bread. (The bread can be toasted, too.)
Cut one avocado in half, remove the stone, and scoop the flesh from one half into a bowl. Season generously with lemon juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mash the avocado coarsely with the back of a spoon, then check for seasoning— it should be pretty punchy. Slice or scoop the remaining flesh from the first avocado, and then cut, seed, and slice or scoop the flesh from the second. Spread the mashed avocado on the toasts, and arrange the slices on top. Shower over salt and shimichi togarashi and garnish with sprouts, a few more drops of lemon juice, and olive oil. Eat.
NOTE: Quantities depend on the size of the avocados and the size and type of bread. For the bread, you want something with a closed crumb so that the avocado mash doesn’t fall through. With a compact, grainy sandwich bread you might need four slices, whereas with a big, crusty boule you might need only two. For a baguette, I’ll leave you with the math.
Excerpted from Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady. Copyright © 2015 by Tara O’Brady. Excerpted by permission of Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.