How To Eat: Avocado Toast | avocados

Appropriately for a fruit whose original name in Nahuatl, āhuacatl, also means testicle, some ancient balls have been written about avocados and, specifically, the topic of How to Eat This Month, avocado toast.

This brunch favorite of hip, up-and-coming urban youth (for argument’s sake, let’s call them hipsters) has become an angry prism through which many (older) people view a world they no longer understand. Columnists and wealthy businessmen have criticized supposedly skinny millennials frivolously spending £9 on brunch, drawing thunderous support from the kind of people who are irrationally annoyed by the abbreviation “avocado toast” and how we no longer have the service. national.

This is the Apprentice’s view of personal finance. The belief that “anyone under the age of 35 who doesn’t want to work 18 hours a day, seven days a week, doesn’t deserve to buy a house” is more of a psychological disorder than a reasoned argument. Millennials are no more self-indulgent than any generation after the baby boomer generation, and with the prospect of saving for big things like houses growing ever more distant, why bother? Bring on the bottomless brunch!

With the avocado seen as the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with Insta-food culture, wellness, gentrification, and metropolitan liberals in general, it’s easy to forget why it’s so popular. Global cultivation has nearly doubled in the last decade because the uses for this fruit (minus the raw fruit itself) taste very, very good. For all the marketing power that has been exerted to popularize avocado, the UK’s love of avocado toast seems natural, not forced, and indicative of a broader shift in meatless dining habits. One that, despite the avocado’s troubled sociopolitical baggage, signals a new future for food much more than recent fads like barbecue or fancy burgers.

That’s not to minimize the real avocado problems. In Mexico, skyrocketing prices and poor harvests have led people to substitute zucchini squash for a fruit they’ve been eating for 10,000 years, in one of those consequences of unregulated global capitalism that makes you desperate, and that’s even before that you examine the role of Mexicans. cartels in the harvest of what some call “blood avocados”.

Consumers should demand Fairtrade or ethically sourced avocados, perhaps from other parts of the world. Self-regulate, too. Eat less avocado toast if you must. Do your bit to alleviate this voracious global demand.

Like many of the good things in life, avocado toast is best eaten as a treat, a rare break from the norm. And when we do eat it, we better do it right. That’s where How to Eat (HTE), the series examining the best way to enjoy Britain’s favorite foods, can help.

Construction Notes

Fun fact: Avocado toast existed before 1993. It was common in California in the 1960s. The New Yorker published a recipe in 1937. Understandably, it was probably “invented” thousands of years earlier when some unknown Central American hero applied heat to avocado toast. bread and avocado on toast. But contemporary avocado toast, Sydney-style avocado toast, was popularized by Australian chef and restaurateur Bill Granger, whose early 1990s version (toast, avocado puree, lime, salt, and chilli flakes) has become popular. taken over the world ever since.

It is barely a recipe, more assembly than cooking. That is why so much anal attention is paid to the nature and treatment of its key components. Historians have yet to isolate precisely when avocado puree became “squashed” avocado, but that squash is crucial. Because? Well, as comedian Geoff Norcott, front man on BBC Two’s How the Middle-Class Ruined Britain, recently put it: “No ‘fruit’ should have such an oily, fleshy texture.”

That’s why we crush, Geoff. Sliced ​​and elegantly fanned on toast, the avocado is a smooth and strangely creamy quirk of nature: vegetable but not vegetable, cold, curiously slimy, and offering little interest because the essential seasoning that gives it life (lemon and salt, at the very least). ) will not adhere properly. The seasoning can only be fully distributed through the mashed avocado, and that mashing should be done by hand with a fork, to avoid an oddly spongy, wet, machine-processed texture.

You want it smooth but dense, like Michelin-starred mashed potatoes or Dominic Raab. In Australia, the seasonal interval in which Hass avocados (creamer, heavily smashed) are replaced by the Shepard variety (firmer, better for slicing) causes national mourning. HTE can sympathize with that.

The bread that this smashed avocado sits on should be inch-thick toasted sourdough. Not the sliced ​​white bread, which looks thin and mean and lost under a mound of avocado; not ciabatta (its woolly crumb lacks the crunchy textural contrast that sourdough offers); nor English muffins, like the favorites of the musician Van Dyke Parks. Sourdough is one of the few breads robust enough to provide a platform for a large moist avocado slice; moreover, like the added citric acid, its lactic touch is critical to the interplay of this dish where intense, spicy flavors and crunchy textures dance like excited fireflies around the rich, smooth avocado core.

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Egg on avocado toastIs the egg an acceptable addition? Photograph: David Malan/Getty Images

plating and design

With its vivid colors, it’s no wonder avo toast has become such an online hit. A jumble of bright and sunny ingredients invariably looks good on Instagram. Rarely, however, has aesthetics intersected so dramatically with how we enjoy a dish. As discussed above, sliced ​​avocado (often arranged in creepy, ornate geometric patterns) is much less pleasurable than smashed. Chefs’ attempts to tame this dish kill it.

Using avocado as butter (“A fat that is spread on toast,” as one Australian chef told the New Yorker) is chefs’ number one mistake. Particularly when that avocado is spread thin, prim, and neat to the edges of the sourdough, this dish begins to transform. It’s about both the toast and the avocado, which is wrong. Mashed, well-seasoned avocado should be the star here, laid out in large haphazard clumps, their thickness telling of the fruitful harvests of sun-drenched climes far away.

You don’t want overdone order here, you want colorful chaos: thick slices of toast angled on top of each other, mounds of avocado, sprinkled and garnished with extras (see below) until it looks like your plate is generously brimming with toppings. .

Apparently some chefs use colored tableware, gray or black plates for example, to increase the color contrast with the avocado. While it makes sense to avoid a direct clash (eg, blue or maroon plates), an all-white background works well.


Sharp, salty and/or crunchy are the goals here, to titillate and offset the creamy avo. However, there are caveats. The citrusy or sparkling fermented sharpness is preferable to the vinegary touch of, say, pickled gherkins. Also, do you need meat? Adding bacon or chorizo ​​to avocado toast is like Billy Corgan joining the New Order, a guest MC throwing out a verse on a Kendrick Lamar song, or LCD Soundsystem reforming to make American Dream. It’s an inflection, it adds another layer of interest to a familiar experience, but it’s far from essential. In fact, if overused, all that meaty, umami bass in the mix can detract from an already perfect creation.

Eggs: Those eggs should be poached or fried, not scrambled, as Alexa Chung prefers in fashion. The scramble introduces an undistinguished rubbery or cushiony dimension to the dish, while the taut white of a poached egg or the crispy edges of a fried egg offer a point of difference and also waves of golden yolk to help lubricate the dish.

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Other nice additions: crumbled feta (on top, coarsely chopped, not pulverized and mixed in); spicy and nutty dukkah; smoked chili flakes, but not too much (heat should be restrained); some kind of almost dry jammy harissa sauce; toasted hazelnuts; halloumi; crispy onions; lightly pickled pink onions; fermented pickled vegetables; a little labneh or garlic creme fraiche to soften the dish; a layer of sumac; a few judicious drops of hot sauce.

Bad additions: Cucumber, Tomato or Radish Slices – A watery, blank interruption to this rich and indulgent dish; grated carrot; pickled gherkins or equally robust vinegary vegetables; pot; unroasted sesame seeds (a lazy, unsatisfyingly textured shortcut); soft ricotta (what’s this being added!?); smoked salmon, a greasy and slippery component too far; “Mexican beans” (HTE can see where you’re going there…but can’t); crab or prawns, delicate flavors best enjoyed in a less crowded environment; arugula, unnecessary filler with an inappropriate spiciness.


Too busy for an early breakfast and (if good) too filling for a weekday lunch, avocado toast is undoubtedly the ultimate brunch dish – a 10am-2pm weekend treat. best to eat it when you’re slightly hungover or loose, when you can sit down and digest it to your heart’s content.


A great avocado toast requires a skilled hand, a host of high-quality components and, perhaps most difficult of all given its ridiculously short window of optimal edibility, ripe avocados. Therefore, and especially if you want to minimize food waste, it is better to eat it in a cafeteria or restaurant, than at home. You can peel off, of course. You may be delivered a car crash of an avocado toast for $22 or find yourself at the Aussie cafe that, for A$18 (£10), serves toast and half an avocado to diners (as an “avocado homage”). and the farms”), and expects them to mash and spread themselves. That’s not brunch, that’s a cooking lesson. A DIY project. But search and you will find your perfect avocado toast. It’s not that we lack places that serve it.

To drink

What other thing? Flat white.

So, avocado toast: how do you eat yours?

This article was modified on August 19, 2019 to correct spelling by Geoff Norcott.

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