I hate myself a little bit for even posting this, for giving avocado toast even just one second past what I think we can all agree is its severely bloated 15 minutes of fame, but I have something important to tell you and I like you so much that it's worth risking my credibility as your personal food skeptic, your filter of BS, your Guardian Angel of the Hard Sell.
I'm not here to reinvent avocado toast. I'm not here to encourage you to eat more of it. Avocado toast has been here long enough for all of us to have worked it into our own intimate breakfast/lunch/snax4dinner rotations according to our own tastes. If you're like me, it's not so much a regular habit as one of convenience: you'll make it if you've got a quarter of an avocado lying around and the most expedient way to properly dispatch it is to inelegantly smear it on bread and be done with it.
When this happens, it's fine. Perfectly serviceable in a pinch. Good, even! But it's not memorable, and no artful twirling or geometric undulations of avocado slices will make it so.
You see, to go through the trouble of smashing and mounding what is, pound for pound, one of the most expensive toppings for a humble slice of toast without any thought to what the avocado's flavor wants, is a regrettable misuse of resources.
In the immortal words of your second favorite Wham song, if you're gonna do it, do it right.
And the best part: much like the lonely quarter avocado that got us here in the first place, the ideal accompaniments are likely already things you've got lying around. With its smooth fullness, avocado wants brightness and kick. In moments of less-than-perfect ripeness, its tight green flavor may want the lush, round quality it hasn't quite locked in yet.
Here's what your avocado toast needs, in this order: a generous squeeze of lemon; a drizzle of olive oil; flaky or coarse salt; freshly ground black pepper. Bonus points if you make little shingle shapes in the smoothed avocado with your knife to catch the lemon and olive oil and keep everyone on board.
Super triple lightning bonus points if you have a favorite crunchy seed mixture to scatter on top of all that.
If you don't, you can have mine! My house mix is inspired by the most superior bagel of them all but tweaked to omit the things I feel lukewarm about (poppy seeds, mostly) and add the things I can't get enough of: fennel seeds and dill seeds. I bought a huge packet of dill seeds online the first time I made Michael Solomonov's slow-roasted sweet potatoes and have been enchanted since. The seed mix practically tastes destined for avocado toast, but it's also a cheeky add for a beschmeared bagel, a homey mix-in for no-knead bread, and a day-maker on top of the yogurt you'd put next to fried lemony eggs or a low, wide bowl of shakshouka.
Better-than-Everything Seed Mix
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon dill seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon white or black sesame seeds
Combine all ingredients in a small jar and store, sealed, for up to 6 months. Sprinkle on anything and everything.
- baked goods
- beans + legumes
- dinner party
- gluten free
- make ahead
- pregnant food
- roasted stuff
- special occasions
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