Item No. 06 of my 2016 Cooking Challenge
Don’t look now, but somehow avocado toast has become one of the trendiest and most popular breakfast items in recent years. I’m a fan for a few reasons, although avocado is pretty much enough reason for me to like just about anything. First off, few foods scream “California!” quite like something cheesy or avoacado-ey, something that’s both tasty with somewhat redemptive nutritional value. Also, I’m currently training for a half-marathon, so this is a marginally decent way to up my caloric intake in a mostly healthy way.
1 sliced loaf of brown rye bread
ground black peppercorns
5 oz of smoked salmon
Cast iron skillet
Thing I Learned #1 – I heard somewhere before that there are two types of avocados in the world… which turned out to be a crazy oversimplification. There are actually over a thousand varieties, especially when you look at things genetically. But… most Americans will only ever come across eight varieties and 95% of them happen to be Hass avocados.
The MVP’s of this recipe happened to be the avocados of course, followed by the toast. In order to make my toast, I reprised my recipe for black bread that I worked on a couple of weeks ago. This time around, I got the flour ratio right, and I split the amounts of flour 50/50 between rye flour and regular bread flour. If you want some of the satisfaction of having made your own toast of the avocado toast, I recommend following that recipe.
1) It all begins with bread.
Of course I’m a big proponent of DIY bread… although no lie, it is a time consuming process. But, for a rewarding result, try my black bread recipe but replace half of the rye flour with bread flour, and consider going more restrained with the darkening mixture.
If you do buy some bread, make sure you don’t hold back and get some decent sliced bread. Dark rye tends to work really well for this recipe, or at least some wheat bread. Grainy textures also work well, and help to bring out some of the Nordic elements of this dish.
Get the bread nice and toasty. I prefer oven toasting as many slices as you plan on serving laid out on a cookie sheet.
2) Slice the avocados.
Slice the avocados into thin strips… assuming they’re firm enough. If they’re more on the overripe side, then you can probably manage mushing up some avocado on top of the toast once it’s ready, but the presentation tends to look better when you have the thin slices assembled. Also cooking show seems keen to remind you of the trick where you can chop into the seed to make it easier to pit the avocado, but I’m not sure who doesn’t know that at this point.
3) Poach the Eggs.
I learned a poached egg trick from Jamie Oliver.
Typically, my method of poaching eggs involves bringing a pot of water to a simmer, and then stirring it until it becomes a bit of a whirlpool within the pot. If it’s the right temperature and the water is swirling around at a right enough speed, then that should allow the egg whites to cook while swirling around the yolk, resulting in a fine poached egg.
The problem with that method for this recipe is that I needed five eggs, and that would be tough to do one at a time while maintaining temperature. Thus the Jamie Oliver method. He recommended a trick where you line a muffin tin with saran wrap and then coat it with a bit of oil. Crack the eggs and open them into the muffin cups… they should settle into the bottom where they can be lifted out by the plastic wrap. Lift it up and twist the top like a wonton. Then let the egg cook within the plastic.
Thing I Learned #2 – Many recipes advocate using vinegar to help poach eggs, but a lot of chefs frown on it at the risk of the eggs becoming too acidic. Personal opinion, this isn’t a terrible thing if its a recipe would benefit from a vinegary taste.
During the next step, you’ll cut the twisted top off the plastic wrap and then unwrap them onto the toast.
4) Avocadoes Assemble.
On each slice of toast, start by spreading a layer of ricotta cheese. Then on goes the avocado. Finally, on go the poached eggs, then the salmon. I like topping it all off with a finale of smoked salmon.
Serving this Sucker
This is a nice and visually appealing meal on its own… more than that, it’s a pretty well rounded meal and doesn’t need a whole lot paired with it. It’s a nice complete package all on its own. However, I think a salty pork product or seafood tends to be the best meat toping, hence the smoked salmon.
Thing I Learned #3 – Avocado toast was recently named the Most Annoying Food on Instagram. I had no idea such a distinction existed, but I guess avocado toast takes home the trophy. So you’re welcome for this post!
In the Future
Sadly, I cooked the poached eggs a wee bit too long… and that resulted them in being more soft-boiled than poached. I was so bummed! Especially since the bread was well done, the avocados ripened well, and everything else was a go.
The next day I gave redemption a shot by making a breakfast toast. I was out of avocado so I suppose it no longer counted as avocado toast, but I got to enjoy a poached egg, smoked bacon, sriracha, and ricotta all together. The results were great and the runny egg was exactly what I was going for.
I would love to do more avocado toasts. Beyond toast and avocado, I think the most important elements to include happen to be a creamy or bright cheese, like ricotta, chevre, or even cream cheese, the avocado, and some sort of sharp and salty cured meat.