Last week I cooked in Terlingua, Texas, for a group of hungry yogis who, lucky for me, also happened to be foodies. I was in baking heaven making bread, canelés and biscuits throughout the week, but I also brought a loaf of Wild Leaven’s Rye, Molasses & Fennel Sourdough bread for my favorite breakfast of the trip, avocado toast. This was not only the easiest meal of the entire trip to put together, I think it was also the prettiest.
This recipe can be made any time of the day and on any type of bread. You can enjoy this just as it is, or you can add smoked fish under the avocado if you want to add some protein. In the photo, I spread some hot smoked salmon pate on the bottom (the recipe I shared earlier this month). The avocado lends a rich and decadent texture, while the pickled vegetables bring a splash of color and burst of bright flavor.
Aside from the avocado, and in celebration of the beginning of spring, the star of the show in this dish is undoubtedly the quick pickled vegetables. This is a wonderful way to get the most out of your haul of spring veggies. There are two types of pickling: The type where salt and water combine to ferment the vegetables, which takes days or weeks, and quick pickles, which don’t have all the health benefits of fermentation but are still delicious and can be made in a flash. Here I use shallots and radish, but feel free to venture beyond this as the season brings more varieties of vegetables to choose from like carrots, ginger, asparagus, turnips, green beans, snap peas, garlic scapes, cabbage and cauliflower.
I am usually of the opinion that the more food looks like itself, the prettier it is. But blending the avocado into a crema combined with the pink pickled radish and shallots brings out a playfulness and whimsy too fun and delicious to resist. You can spread the avocado with a knife, spoon it on or use a piping bag to make little peaked dollops.
Avocado Toast with Pickled Spring Vegetables
Makes: 4 servings;
total time: 1 hour
For the quick pickles:
1 bunch red radishes, thinly sliced
4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup filtered water
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Pinch of red chile flakes, to taste (optional)
¼ cup of fresh thyme sprigs
For the avocado toast:
2 ripe avocados, seeded and peeled
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 juicy lime, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices of good bread, toasted
¼ cup fresh dill sprigs, for garnish
Preparation: First, make the quick pickles. Place slices of radish and shallot in a heatproof jar. In a separate saucepan, bring vinegar, water, sugar, salt, red chile flakes (if using) and thyme sprigs to a boil. Whisk just until the sugar is dissolved. Pour this hot liquid over the vegetables and let them sit until they have reached room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use. This can be done in advance and kept in the fridge for up to one week.
Next, make the avocado crema. In a blender or food processor, blend the avocado, yogurt, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
To put it all together, spread or pipe avocado crema all over the top of your toasted bread. Pull pickles out of the picking liquid and arrange pickled radish and shallots over the top of each piece of toast. Garnish with dill.