Avocados are a healthy staple in the kitchen. Packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, and high in monounsaturated fat, their creamy texture and mild flavor lend well to dips, smoothies, even ice cream, while their coolness provides a foil to spice and heat in salsas and salads. Having said that, one of the best ways to eat an avocado is as simply as possible, so its delicate flavor will stand out. And that's where avocado toast steps in.
There's no shortage of avocado toast on restaurant menus these days. From the straightforward smear to the vegetable-patch-piled garden variety, there's a toast for every appetite. I prefer my avocado toast simple: often sliced and layered on toasted country-style bread, adorned with a squeeze of lemon, a dribble of oil, freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of sea salt flakes. Simplicity clearly rules in the technique, and in this case, it's key that every ingredient is of high quality -- from the bread (artisan country style), to a luscious drizzle-worthy extra-virgin olive oil, to my go-to Maldon sea salt flakes, which are stashed in my cupboard, solely reserved for strategic sprinkling and finishing.
Sometimes, if I am feeling fancy or entertaining, I'll nudge my toast up a notch, and brush the avocado slices with a thick lemon-balsamic reduction, which adds the glossy bling of a slick, sweet-tart glaze. Again, the same rule applies -- use a high-quality vinegar. If you have any leftover syrup, you can save it to drizzle over fresh strawberries or whisk into a salad dressing.
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Avocado Toast with Balsamic Reduction
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Serves: 1 to 2
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 slices country-style bread, 1/2-inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled, partially smashed
1 large ripe but firm Hass avocado
Sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper, for garnish
Make the glaze: Combine the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the vinegar reduces by half and has a thick syrup consistency, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven broiler or a grill pan. Lightly brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil. Toast in the oven or on the pan until golden brown, turning once. Transfer to a plate and rub with the garlic clove.
Trim the tip of the avocado. Run a knife vertically around the center of the avocado, cutting into flesh until knife meets the pit. Gently twist the avocado open and remove pit. Carefully remove the skin, keeping the avocado intact.
Thinly slice each half crosswise, about 1/4-inch thick. Arrange the slices on the bread, overlapping. Brush with the balsamic syrup. Season with sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper.