Avocado toast 10 ways

June 2nd, 2020

Like a lot of old farts, I poo-pooed the avocado toast craze as just another Spandex-y putsch by California to correct the common diet. And like a lot of old farts, I did this without ever having tasted an avocado toast.

Oh, my word, is avocado toast delicious. Putsch away, California.

Avocado toast with Italian prosciutto
Avocado toast with Italian prosciutto. Photo by Bill St. John for UCHealth.

From the two-ingredient avocado-plus-toast toast, to uncountable turns on toppings, this is one fine way to eat that nutritional pyramid. And some arrangements of avocado, toast and toppings are so pretty that it takes an act of the will to destroy the design.

Here are 10 ways with avocado toast. Because these are the simplest of recipes, please heed the admonition to use only the very best ingredients. Buy the best fruit, bread, toppings; use the top olive oil, the freshest seasonings, the finest salts.

More great food articles and tips from Bill St. John.

But to begin with the avocado itself, often considered a vegetable but botanically a berry (or, in consequence, a fruit). You likely purchase your avocados very firm in order to ripen them at home as a guarantee they’ll both remain unmolested by other shoppers and be ready when you are. You may speed up ripening by placing them in a paper bag; slow down or lengthen ripening by placing them in the refrigerator’s vegetable bin.

I do not have any failsafe advice on picking out the perfect avocado to go under the knife. I’ve been disappointed too many times on halving one. However, I have found casting away just the brown tuff a salutary procedure. The remaining green always tastes good.

Use this recipe as a starting point on method; that is, scoop out the flesh with a very large spoon, mash it just a bit with the tines of the back of the fork, and so forth.

Avocado toast with prosciutto

Makes 2 slices.

Ingredients

2 slices hearty-crumbed, crusty bread

Extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly cracked black pepper and coarse-grained sea salt

1 large just-ripe avocado

3-4 slices prosciutto (or more, depending on size)

Dried hot pepper flakes (such as Urfa, Aleppo, or Mexican red)

Chopped flat-leaf parsley and wedges of lemon or lime

Directions

Toast the bread slices to your liking. Drizzle the olive oil onto 1 side of each slice and sprinkle liberally with the salt and pepper. Halve the avocado lengthwise, discarding the seed and, with a very large spoon, scoop out the flesh from each half in 1 spoonful.

Place each half of avocado, rounded side up, on each slice of toast and mash coarsely with the back tines of a fork, spreading the avocado out but also keeping it chunky. Furl or bunch the prosciutto slices atop the mashed avocado.

Sprinkle liberally with the dried pepper flakes and the chopped parsley, squeezing the juice from a lime or lemon wedge onto the toasts as a final flourish.

With bacon and eggs

Top the mashed avocado with scrambled eggs and chopped crisped bacon; or a poached egg with bacon bits and chive “sticks.”

With cured salmon, mint, and lemon

Top the mashed avocado with either smoked salmon or gravlax, fresh mint leaf chiffonade (thin ribbons), and lemon zest.

With cream cheese and “everything” bagel sprinkle

Top the mashed avocado with whipped cream cheese and liberal sprinklings of “everything” bagel blend or seasoning.

With whole-milk Greek yogurt and za’atar

Top the mashed avocado with dollops of plain Greek yogurt and a hefty dash of za’atar (a blend of thyme, sumac, and sesame seed that can be found at Middle Eastern groceries). Or use ras el hanout instead of za’atar.

With corn salad and lime

Top the mashed avocado with 2 tablespoons of canned or jarred corn salad (or your own leftover corn kernels dressed with a small amount of vinegar and sugar or honey), squeezes of fresh lime juice, and chopped parsley.

With sliced hard-cooked egg and garam masala

Top the mashed avocado with slices of peeled, hard-cooked egg, dashes of garam masala, and chopped or whole cilantro leaves.

With cucumber, lime, and red chile flakes

Top the mashed avocado with slices of partially-peeled seedless (sometimes called “English” or “Persian”) cucumbers, lime juice, and sprinklings of dried Urfa or Aleppo chile peppers.

With summer tomato, basil and balsamic

Wait until they’re available later this summer and top the mashed avocado with a thick slice of off-the-vine tomato, basil chiffonade, aged balsamic vinegar, and liberal sprinklings of salt and pepper.

With strawberries and aged balsamic

For a sweeter beginning to the day, top the mashed avocado with sliced strawberries and just a few drops of syrup-y aged balsamic (sometimes sold as “condimento”) or pomegranate syrup.

A note on breads: In my view, better choices for avocado toast are breads with firmer crumb and crust, such as those made with blends of both rye and wheat flours, or hearty sourdough or levain breads (breads raised from a starter), either white or wheat.

With hearty breads such as these, sometimes the toaster can be supplanted by the grill, or even a cast-iron skillet fiery of heat and coated with good olive oil or ghee.

Breads that are nutted or fruited (say, with raisins) might fit for avocado toast with toppings such as bacon or other smoked or cured meats such as pastrami.

I could also see, although I haven’t tried it except in my mind’s eye, toasted or pan-fried cornbread as a great base for an avocado toast that featured the toppings of crumbled chorizo or breakfast sausage and some toasted and peeled chile pepper strips.

And an egg. An egg would be terrific.

You may reach Bill St John at billstjohn@gmail.com

About the author

For more than 40 years, Bill St. John’s specialties have been as varied as they are cultured. He writes and teaches about restaurants, wine, food & wine, the history of the cuisines of several countries (France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and the USA), about religion and its nexus with food, culture, history, or philosophy, and on books, travel, food writing, op-ed, and language.

Bill has lent (and lends) his subject matter expertise to such outlets as The Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post, The Chicago Tribune, 5280 Magazine, and for various entities such as food markets, wine shops, schools & hospitals, and, for its brief life, Microsoft’s sidewalk.com. In 2001 he was nominated for a James Beard Award in Journalism for his 12 years of writing for Wine & Spirits Magazine.

Bill's experience also includes teaching at Regis University and the University of Chicago and in classrooms of his own devising; working as on-air talent with Denver's KCNC-TV, where he scripted and presented a travel & lifestyle program called "Wine at 45"; a one-week stint as a Trappist monk; and offering his shoulder as a headrest for Julia Child for 20 minutes.

Bill has also visited 54 countries, 42 of the United States, and all 10 Canadian provinces.