Is there anything better (or more Aussie) than starting a morning with avo on toast? It’s the universal welcome mat to a good day. It’s swift, simple, versatile. And it’s seriously yummy.
Yet it is possible to have too much of a good thing. With that in mind, here are five alternate toppings for toast to toy with this weekend. These come from all over the globe (and beyond), inspired by breakfasts in Barcelona, Rome, Brooklyn, Cairo - and even the fictional world of Dr Seuss. Give one a go this Sunday morning. We think they’re the best thing since sliced bread.
1. Pan Tumaca
Smushed tomato on charred bread that’s been scraped with a cut garlic clove isn’t necessarily the most appetising menu description. But anyone who has had breakfast in Barcelona knows better. Pan Tumaca is a Catalonian specialty that’s as comfortable as part of a tapas spread as it is with a cortado coffee first thing in the morning. The secret is making sure that each of the ingredients are at their peak. The tomatoes need to be ruby-ripe and hand grated so you get a velvety mix of skin and flesh in the puree. The olive oil needs to have a peppery punch and the salt should be flakes you can feel on your tongue. This is perfect on its own, but when paired with some cured meats or a fried egg, it really sings.
Get the recipe.
2. Ricotta and Espresso with Banana
If you’re in the mood for a sweeter start to your day, walk this way. Fresh ricotta is a cooling topping for any sort of toast. It’s a little like a Roman holiday for your breakfast. Try spreading it thickly and adorning it with some thinly sliced banana and a dusting of ground espresso for kick (cinnamon is also nice). If you’re shopping for a little extra indulgence try serving it on toasted panettone or fruit loaf, or with a drizzling of honey to really gild the lily.
Get the recipe.
3. Nut Butter and Chia Jam
This takes a US classic pairing of peanut butter and jelly (jam) and gives it a hipster Brooklyn makeover. Whether you’re in a hurry or have time to linger, a rustic nut butter made from blending peanuts, cashews and almonds with a little coconut oil provides a hearty spread for toast. You could always stop there, but try joining it with a sugar-free chia seed jam. ‘Chia what?’ One of the magical properties of chia seeds is their ability to absorb up to three times their weight in liquid. This allows the tiny seeds to set any fruit puree into a jam like consistency, without the extra sugar. A simple slurry of ripe berries mixed with chia will happily keep in the fridge for up to a week. The only choice left is what bread to use. Nostalgic lunch-box purists will go for toasted white sandwich bread, but a good gluten free, sourdough or spelt loaf would also perfectly suit the modern mood.
Get the recipe.
4. Green Eggs (and Ham)
Anyone who says they don’t like green eggs and ham is either being purposely contrary (Sam I am - we’re looking at you) or just hasn’t had the right sort. Rumpled boiled eggs bound together with pesto is a taste revelation – and another green substitute for your #avosmash obsession. There are a few tricks to making sure you get this right. The first is how you boil your eggs. The key to avoiding the unsightly khaki ring around the yolk is stop them from cooking for too long. Plunging them into iced water as soon as they’ve finished is one safe bet. You could of course make your own pesto from fresh basil, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan, or you could easily take a short cut with a couple of tablespoons of a good quality version from a jar.
Get the recipe.
5. Smokey Eggplant with Feta
There are rumblings in certain corners of the internet that eggplant may just be the new avocado. This silken, smokey puree adds weight to that claim. Slathered on toast it’s just the thing to wake up your taste buds in the morning. This rendition of mouttabal is reminiscent of breakfasts in Cairo and pairs well with pita triangles, fava bean puree, sliced tomato and boiled egg. Though it’s also a winner when served with some crumbled feta and mint. It does require a good char on the eggplant skin to have right flavour, so make sure you’ve got a good exhaust fan or open the windows when grilling (or do it outside). With that in mind, a breakfast spread that’s made on the barbecue may be the most Australian thing of all.
About Tori Haschka: Tori is a food writer and published cook book author. She’s the author of two books – 'Cut the Carbs!' & 'A Suitcase and a Spatula', the app ‘Poppyseed to Pumpkin’ and the blog http://eatori.com. She and her son Will can be found in the aisles of Harris Farm Manly at least three times a week.
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