Cooking with Jacqui: The Many Faces of Avocado Toast
I don’t consider myself to be a picky eater. While there are a few foods that I’d prefer not to eat, I rarely make menu substitutions and I’ll pretty much eat anything you put in front of me. This year, I promised myself that I’d expand my food horizons. An opportunity came about for me to tackle one of the foods I tend to pick out of dishes—avocado.
Following my first cooking class with Jacqui Renager, I was invited to attend another. I eagerly said yes to her offer then looked at her schedule. My eyes widened with mild fear when I saw Avocado Toast listed as the dish we would be preparing.
You know the old joke about millennials and their avocado toast? I’m the exception. My mom has been trying to get me to eat avocado for years, in sandwiches, guacamole, etc. I just couldn’t get with the texture of the fruit. However, lately I’ve felt like I’ve been missing out on this super food. Jacqui’s class provided me the perfect opportunity to experiment with avocado on not one but five different toasts.
To breakout of the standard combination of avocados and bread, Jacqui showed us five creative ideas for flavorful and filling avocado toasts.
Each toast was served on a sturdy artisan bread that you’d find in the bakery section of any local supermarket. The bread was toasted to withstand the ingredients but wasn’t too crunchy throughout. When I remake these toasts at home, I’ll probably use sourdough or Italian bread. I would even consider using an English muffin for a smaller snack.
Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast
The first avocado toast combined familiar ingredients to create a unique pairing. Lox, or smoked salmon, and capers are ingredients I often get on my cream cheese bagels. Instead of cream cheese, we used tzatziki sauce at the base. From there, I built up and added capers, avocado, smoked salmon, a drizzle of olive oil, black sesame seeds and dill.
This was the perfect way to dip my toe into the avocado pool. I already love the fresh, tangy taste of tzatziki but enjoyed it even more with the creamy avocado. I decided not to add any additional salt because the salmon and capers gave the toast more than enough.
Poached Egg Avocado Toast
Next was another excellent option for breakfast or brunch. This toast was a bit simpler and featured a poached egg. Jacqui not only showed us an easy way to make poached eggs, but also demonstrated how we can make poached eggs in advance then heat them up when it came time to eat them.
Instead of using just the slices of avocado, we also used smashed avocado. Less complex than guacamole, this avocado smash simply combines avocado with lime juice to create a chunky spread. I spooned the smash over my toast then added some blanched asparagus, avocado slices, a poached egg then topped the dish with fresh microgreens. Someone in the class brought in a bottle of Trader Joe’s Everything Seasoning. For anyone who doesn’t know what Everything Seasoning is, just imagine bottling all the seasonings from an Everything bagel. The blend of onion, salt, garlic and sesame seeds were the perfect addition to my poached egg avocado toast.
Caprese Avocado Toast
Our third toast was one of my favorite food combinations. I can eat TBM, or tomato, basil and mozzarella, on anything and that includes avocado toast. We utilized the avocado smash for this toast as well, topping it with soft mozzarella, colorful cherry tomatoes, basil and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. I was a bit heavy handed with my glaze, so I had a touch more sweetness on my toast, but I certainly didn’t mind it. I thought this would be my favorite, until I tasted the next toast.
Hummus Avocado Toast
Hummus is another food that I side eyed a few years ago. Now, I’ve come to enjoy it and eat with pretzels and even in wraps. I had no idea how much I’d relish in the combination of hummus and avocado. We started by spreading a plain hummus on our toast, then added some slices of avocado, kalamata olives, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and a drizzle of olive oil.
Since this was our fourth toast, I was starting to get full, so I cut my servings down. I chose the smallest piece of bread and only added one slice of avocado. I did, however, grab a generous amount of kalamata olives.
All the flavors of this toast blended so well that this was hands-down my favorite of the day. The saltiness of the olives added to the subtle taste of the creamy hummus and avocado. The addition of red pepper flakes really put the dish over the top, offering just a touch of heat.
Watermelon Radish Avocado Toast
We ended the day with an avocado toast that showcased the watermelon radish. I first had a watermelon radish in Jacqui’s last class when we made a niçoise salad. I was getting pretty full, so I made a couple changes to Jacqui’s recipe. She used a mayo base for the toast then added some avocado slices, watermelon radish slivers and microgreens.
Instead of the mayo base, I used more of the avocado smash. I put on a thick enough layer to substitute the avocado slices. To combat the piquant taste of the watermelon radish, I added a sprinkle of salt. Although I wish I had gone back for more of that Everything Seasoning. I also added some black sesame seeds and microgreens for aesthetics.
I walked away from this class not only with a greater appreciation for avocado, but with some recipes for my arsenal.
These avocado toasts would make a fantastic brunch idea. You could even do an easy avocado toast bar, allowing everyone to add their favorite toppings, spices and spreads. I definitely plan on making some of these toasts as a healthy post-workout snack or a treat on the weekend.