I was long distance chatting with my mom the other day, and because our conversations often revolve around food, she was raving about an avocado toast she recently had for lunch at a cafe in my hometown, St. Louis. She then proceeded to ask how to make Avocado Toast. I could feel my face twist up as I thought, “It’s pretty self explanatory, no?” But before saying anything out loud, I quickly realized that, to her point, there’s a difference between smashed avocado slathered on any old slice of bread and a real Avocado Toast. So my mom wants to know how to make the best version of a real Avocado Toast? Challenge accepted.I absolutely love a good Avocado Toast. And I know I’m not the only one; Avocado Toast has totally and completely taken over the universe. It’s definitely not hard to see why. Simple, tasty, and vegan, Avocado Toast is pretty close to perfect. And bonus, it’s so easy that literally anyone can make it. Yes, I said it. Anyone can make it. But that’s not to say anyone can make it right. It’s as simple as it comes, but in order to have the best of any basic dish, there are a few rules. Three to be exact. And they are as follows…
1. Use quality ingredients
2. Subtly amp up the flavor
3. Get the proportions right
If you follow these three rules, any simple recipe, like Avocado Toast, will be the ultimate version of said dish. So let’s break it down a little.
When a recipe consists of essentially just a few ingredients, it’s important that each of those ingredients can stand on its own. That’s why the best Avocado Toast uses perfectly ripe avocado and freshly squeezed lemon juice atop fresh, thick cut and hearty bread and some good-quality, rich olive oil. Add a little salt and pepper to bring out the natural flavors of these four simple ingredients and voila, a note-worthy Avocado Toast.
Ok, so we’ve got the bones of the recipe covered. But I think it’s important to add a little extra flavor when dealing with a dish as basic as this. In this case, garlic. Garlic works beautifully with avocado, lemon and olive oil so it’s a natural choice. But garlic is a super strong flavor, especially when raw. No worries though, because I’ve got a trick. Just after toasting the bread, when it’s hot and crusty, I rub the cut side of a peeled clove of garlic over the bread’s surface (especially the edges). And as easy as that you get the subtle flavor of garlic that doesn’t over power the main ingredients. Divine.
And we’re almost done here, I promise. The ingredients and flavors are all there. You could eat it as is or you could add a few extra toppings. My go-to topping pairing is sliced radishes and chopped scallions. Why these ingredients? Radishes have a light but peppery taste that I love, plus they add a crunchy and refreshing texture as well as fiber and nutrients. And then I throw on some scallions because I like to add scallions to just about everything. Their light onion flavor is the perfect complement to any savory dish in my opinion. But whether you eat as is or add a few veggies, proportion is key. I find that less is more when it comes to proportion. I like just enough of each ingredient so that it’s in every bite, but without overpowering the other flavors. That’s why a thick cut slice of sandwich size bread works perfectly with 1/4 of an avocado. The avocado will cover the whole slice without being so thick that it’s hard to eat and masks the flavor of the bread, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Same goes for the veggie toppings. Just a thin layer with a little bit in each bite is all you need.
So there you have it. My three rules and a recipe for a perfectly basic and delicious Avocado Toast. Breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, this Avocado Toast is a total winner (impressive rhyme, right?).
Best of Basic: Avocado Toast
Serves: 4 Start to Finish: 15 minutes
4 slices thick-cut, whole grain Bread*
1 clove Garlic, peeled and kept whole
1 ripe Avocado
Thinly sliced veggies (optional)**
Crushed Red Pepper Flake (optional)***
Brush one side of each slice of bread with 1 teaspoon Olive Oil. In a toaster oven or under the broiler, toast bread slices until golden (or desired toastiness is reached).
Right after removing toasted slices from oven, rub the cut side of the Gaelic clove over every inch of the oiled bread. The heat from the bread and the crispy texture will allow for a thin layer of garlic and will add lots of flavor.
For each slice of bread, take a quarter of the avocado and gently peel it from its skin. Then thinly slice and lay onto bread. Squeeze 1 teaspoon of lemon juice onto avocado. Using a fork, mash avocado slices together slightly. Season each toast with 2 big pinches of salt (1/8 tsp) and 2 small pinches of pepper.
Eat as is or top with thinly sliced veggies. I like radishes and scallions. When adding a layer of veggies, I season them with a bit more salt.
*Fresh bread is best for a recipe like this. I used a whole wheat peasant loaf from this past weekend’s trip to the farmer’s market.
**I think this avocado toast is simply perfect on its own, but I like adding veggies for even more color, flavor and substance. The freshness of radishes and punch of flavor from scallions work really well with the creamy, lemony avocado. But add whatever you want!
***Red pepper flake adds some heat. Season to taste. I find that I get a nice amount of spice from the radishes, scallions, and black pepper so I left the red pepper flake out this time.