Avocado toast: It’s what’s for dinner

Fancy Avocado Toast. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Fancy Avocado Toast. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Avocado toast may have passed its peak trendiness, and some may be unable to say its name without an eye roll. But to me, it’s just a great way to answer the question of what’s for dinner.

There’s a cafe in Berkeley, California, that serves what I use as my toast template. It smashes an abundant layer of avocado over each extra-thick slice of locally made crusty sourdough bread, which is drizzled with olive oil and then toasted just until the edges begin to char. A generous squeeze of citrus juice, a dusting of ground sumac, and a sprinkle of Aleppo chile flakes top the toast, along with another drizzle of the olive oil and a few sprinkles of flaky sea salt.

When I lived down the street from that cafe, I’d order the toast with a jammy boiled egg on the side. Like the toast, the egg was drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and chile flakes. It made for a generous breakfast or lunch. When I make my version these days, however, I serve it for dinner with a side salad and perhaps a fried egg.

There aren't too many modifications when making the dish at home. (It is, after all, not much more than bread topped with smashed avocado.) Make sure to pick up the best sourdough bread you can find, such as loaves from Root Baking Co., Bread is Good, or Osono Bread. Be picky with the olive oil as well — California Olive Ranch is a good and accessible option. I like to use Hass avocados on the larger side, but if all you can find are smaller specimens, grab twice as many and let them fully ripen on your kitchen counter. As for the rest of the toppings, I use standard grocery store red pepper flakes, instead of Aleppo chile, as it is easier to find. (But if you've got the good stuff, use it.) I do think, however, that it is worth seeking out ground sumac from international grocery stores like Your Dekalb Farmer's Market; its tartness keeps the other rich ingredients in check.

Served with a baby kale or arugula salad, fancy avocado toast makes for a nice, light dinner. If you want a heartier meal, top the toast with an over-easy fried egg.

Fancy Avocado Toast

Fancy Avocado Toast
  • 4 (1-inch-thick) slices crusty sourdough bread
  • 2 large, ripe Hass avocados (or four small)
  • 1 to 2 limes, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • High-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground sumac
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • On the side: Baby kale or arugula salad
  • Optional: Olive oil-fried eggs or hard-boiled eggs
  • Heat the broiler to high and set the oven rack in the highest position. Place the bread under the broiler and toast until deeply browned on both sides, 1 to 3 minutes per side.
  • While the bread is toasting, halve and pit the avocados and place in a medium bowl. Smash to a chunky texture with a fork, then stir in the juice of one of the limes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the juice from the additional lime if desired.
  • When the bread has toasted, drizzle it with olive oil, then evenly divide the avocado mixture over the toast. Sprinkle with the sumac and the pepper flakes, then drizzle with a little additional olive oil. Top with a fried egg, if desired, then slice in half and serve with the salad. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 268 calories (percent of calories from fat, 62), 4 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 20 grams fat (3 grams saturated), trace cholesterol, 380 milligrams sodium.

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