In the beginning...
When I first saw it on the menu at a trendy brunch spot in none other than the Mission neighborhood in San Francisco, I looked over my shoulder to see if I could spot my guardian angel. Alas, she was working invisibly as usual, placing me in the path of my destiny in such a way as to make me believe I’d chosen it myself. For avocado and bread are my two favorite foods, and here they were together in one perfect dish bearing the unassuming moniker of Avocado Toast.
It was everything the name suggested and so much more: avocado mashed and spread on toasted bread, two perfect foods coming together to form an even-more-perfect food union. I don’t cry at weddings, but sometimes I cry at brunch.
That was almost a year ago and I’ve been ordering Avocado Toast from restaurant menus ever since. Sometimes it soaks up the mimosas at brunch; sometimes it’s an appetizer to kick off a cozy dinner with my main squeeze. Whenever the hour, whatever the meal, Avocado Toast fits the occasion.
Cooking at home...
I’m not an enthusiastic or accomplished home cook, but I’m a realist. I cook in my home on the occasions when it isn’t practical to change out of my pajamas to go to a restaurant. I make mostly simple dishes that I can’t botch. I find myself frequently using my two favorite foods, avocado and bread, because they are versatile ingredients and they pretty much always taste good. If Avocado Toast is really just avocado and toast, surely I can make it in my own kitchen, right?
I used Aunt Millie’s Best Grains Honey and Crunchy Oat bread (I’m all about fiber now that I’m in my thirties and apparently not immortal) and a ripe avocado. I diced the avocado and then mashed the chunks with a potato masher so that the avocado would spread easily on to the toast. We don’t want to lose precious chunks of avocado when we pick up the toast to put it in our mouths. Attractive foods are nice, but I have to be able to get the thing into my mouth easily. Eating is the point, after all.
I toasted the bread in my trusty toaster, though I’m sure an artisan chef could use his or her oven. Mine looks like it works fine. When the bread was done toasting, I spread the avocado on it, and voila, Avocado Toast on my own table.
Keeping it simple...
I didn’t add any of the fancy toppings restaurants use. No arugula, smoked trout, capers, or unidentified seeds here. Those things are delicious and make sense when I’m paying $9 to eat Avocado Toast next to hipsters, but in my own home, I like to keep it simple. I did spread butter on one piece of toast, just to see if it added anything. It did make the dish feel more like traditional breakfast toast, but the butter is definitely not necessary.
The genius of Avocado Toast is that it doesn’t matter what temperature it is served at, within reason of course. Don’t serve me frozen avocado toast, please. Those stressful mornings of trying to time the toast and coffee correctly so that both are hot when you sit down to eat are over! The avocado is room temperature because it has been sitting on your kitchen counter, which is presumably inside your house, and we all know how quickly the toast will lose its heat once it has left the toaster. Soon, that is room temperature as well. While room temperature is a letdown for toast spread with peanut butter or jam, it is just lovely for Avocado Toast.
Preparing Avocado Toast in my own kitchen gives me a self-satisfied grin. It turns out I can feed myself after all.
Katie Pruitt is not a chef or even a home cook. She is a writer with a lifelong passion for toast. Although she grew up just a couple miles from the Aunt Millie's bakery in Fort Wayne, she now has loaves of Aunt Millie's bread flown to her in San Francisco on a regular basis.