Sunday, December 9, 2012

Balsamic Avocado Brunch Toast

This year for Chanukah, Faigy got me a book I've been eyeing for a while: The Flavor Bible. It's great because it's not a cookbook, but rather a guide to creating dishes by pairing flavors that have affinities for each other. Most of the book is just long lists of every single kind of ingredient and a bit about its character and what it goes well with.

So of course I began leafing through the "A" section and hit one of the best parts of it: Avocado. Avocado to me is a little bit of a magical superfruit (as indicated in Faigy's Spaghetti Squash with Avocado Garlic Sauce recipe) because it just makes whatever it's in instantly more appealing (aside from its many health benefits). It's got a creaminess and fruitiness which, when complemented with a bit of salt, is heavenly all on its own.

There was one particular pairing that caught my attention: avocado + basil + tomato + red onion + balsamic vinegar. I've known about the first four for a long time (in panini or guacamole for example) but the last bit, the balsamic vinegar, intrigued me. Normally I am not a huge fan of balsamic vinegar raw, because it's a little too pungent for my tastes. But I wondered if I could take inspiration from this and make a delicious and quick brunch the next morning.

As it turned out, we had left over challah from Shabbat. No fresh tomatoes, red onion or basil though; we did have sun-dried tomatoes and dried basil however, which would suffice. I also thought I would use sea salt rather than my standard of kosher salt to get a little more flavor contrast with the avocado. Taking a little bit of inspiration from a co-worker who prepared an avocado open-faced sandwich for breakfast once for me, I decided to top some toast with eggs. It turned out to be incredibly filling and was less than 15 minutes from start to finish (I'll note the order of preparation in the recipe that I found to be fastest).

Faigy likes eggs-over-easy; I prefer scrambled - you can prepare them any way you like!

Balsamic Avocado Brunch Toast

4 eggs
4 slices of bread (leftover challah works great)
1 avocado
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Several handfuls of sun-dried tomatoes, sliced into strips (fresh will do also)
Dried basil
Sea salt (or kosher salt if you don't have any)
Black pepper
Hot sauce, optional

  1. Turn on your oven to 350. You don't need to wait for it to preheat - right after you turn it on, you can put the slices of bread on a sheet of aluminum foil and put it in the oven; by the time everything else is ready, these will be perfectly toasted.
  2. Pour the vinegar into a small saucepan and heat it over medium-low heat. Let this reduce, shaking the saucepan occasionally, till it's down to about 2 tablespoons and has a syrupy consistency, somewhere between 7-10 minutes. Check the consistency by swirling the pot around and seeing how the vinegar flows. You can tell when you're close when there are many smaller brown bubbles sticking to each other (as opposed to the random bubbles you'll see which break up instantly in the beginning) - this means most of the water is evaporating and you're getting to syrup consistency.
  3. While the vinegar is reducing, slice the avocado in half length-wise, then into slices you can layer on the toast.
  4. Mix the eggs with salt, pepper and some dried basil. Also sprinkle some sea salt over the avocado slices. Prepare eggs to your liking! (e.g. over-easy, scrambled, omelette, fried, etc.)
  5. By the time the eggs are done, your toast will probably be finished in the oven and so will your balsamic syrup. Layer on top of the toast as follows: avocado slices, 3 or 4 sun-dried tomato strips, eggs, hot sauce (if you're using it; I like sriracha with eggs), balsamic syrup.
  6. Enjoy with a fork and knife or as finger food!
The layering of the toast helps you taste all the flavors together.

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