Normally I don’t go for trends, but when it comes to avocado toast, I’m making an exception. Smashed avocado on toast with various toppings seems to be all the rage these days. As a concept, it sounded appealing to me, but not anything to get worked up over. Until this past Sunday.
It was a lazy morning… No, actually, I was procrastinating and doing a fine job of it. Instead of straightening out the mess I’d been accumulating all week at the far end of the kitchen table, I concentrated on breakfast.
I took stock of what was on the counter (avocado, grape tomatoes, and challah left over from Friday night), in the refrigerator (my usual stash of yogurt, feta and assorted fruits and vegetables) and set about creating this avocado toast with feta and za’atar.
I made two slices on that first go-round. The entire thing took all of 5 minutes to pull together and mine looked pretty good sitting on the plate. Then I looked over at my husband, to whom I’d given the first piece. He was eating his slice in record time, barely pausing to smile as I started to ask how he liked it. Silly question, I guess.
The only part that was not a success was the procrastination – this avocado toast was quick to make and even quicker to consume. Within a short while I had to face my Sunday chores. Still, the avocado toast was so good that I made it again the next morning. I may have it again later in the week too.
The key to this avocado toast’s success is za’atar. (Check it out in the small white bowl just in front of the avocado in the photo above.) If you’ve eaten Middle Eastern food, you’ve no doubt enjoyed za’atar even if you didn’t know what it was. Think of za’atar as the Middle Eastern equivalent of curry or chili powder – a blending of spices that permeates a cuisine. (Za’atar is also the name of a class of herbs, but I’m using it to mean the spice blend.) It usually includes thyme, sesame seeds, sea salt, and sumac ground together. Sometimes it includes other herbs and spices as well. The aroma of fresh za’atar is magnificent, whether it is combined with other foods in a cooked dish or sprinkled on top as it is on this avocado toast.
Before the recipe, a few words on avocado toast as a genre of breakfast, lunch, or snack food.
3 Tips for Great Avocado Toast
- The bread. You can’t build a great piece of avocado toast on a poor foundation. Just saying. Use the best bread you can find, with a decent crust and good taste. Challah is my bread of choice, but any excellent tasting, rather thickly sliced bread will work. Toast it lightly so that the bread retains some “give” when you bite into it.
- The avocado. It must be ripe. There are different types of avocados. Here is a great guide to the many California varieties and how to know when they are ripe. Regardless of which type you use, mash the avocado with the back of a fork, but don’t pound it into submission. Leave chunky bits so the texture and taste stand out after you add toppings.
- The toppings. This is not about quantity. Stick to a few, high quality toppings and figure that if you wanted a six-inch high monstrosity, you would have made a burger. Presentation matters, even if you’re the only one eating the avocado toast. Consider color contrast, what textures go well together (I used Greek-style yogurt to make the feta cheese creamier), and how to proportion the ingredients so that one doesn’t overwhelm the toast.
Avocado Toast with Feta and Za'atar
- 2 slices good quality bread lightly toasted, challah or multi-grain work best
- 1/2 avocado ripe, mashed
- 3 tablespoons Greek-style plain yogurt lowfat or nonfat are fine
- 2 tablespoons heapingcrumbled feta cheese
- 6 - 8 grape or cherry tomatoes quartered or chopped into bits
- 1/2 -1 teaspoon zaatar
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
Spread the mashed avocado on the lightly toasted bread.
Mix the yogurt and feta cheese, then add the mixture on top of the avocado.
Place the quartered or chopped tomatoes on top of the yogurt/feta mixture.
Sprinkle the toast with za'atar and freshly ground pepper, then a bit of fresh lemon juice.
I received a box of avocados from California Avocados Direct without any obligation on my part to write a post or even mention that firm. I used those avocados to make this recipe. As always, all opinions are my own.