I come from a family where toast is a ritual. We believe that toast should be savored, enjoyed, and cherished. Preferably while reading and drinking tea. Not scarfed down from a napkin while balancing your to-go mug on the way to the car…
Growing up in a house where processed foods were banished and snacks consisted mainly of fruit and the occasional SunChip, I learned early on that toast was my friend. You could always depend on finding some hearty, seed-studded loaf in the bread box. It may not have looked like much, but it made for the perfect piece of toast.
Whether you’re slathering crystallized honey on a buttered slice of baguette, spooning jam into the crevices of a wholesome rye, or piling fluffy scrambled eggs atop a golden slice of sourdough, preparing yourself a piece of toast is an act of love. So go slice some bread and let your imagination wander through the kitchen; the pantry, the fruit bowl, the spice cabinet, the cheese drawer…inspiration awaits.
Here are six of my favorite ways to indulge in the ritual of toast:
1. Butter, a medium-boiled egg, and fresh dill: for busy mornings when protein is in order. Don’t skimp on the butter! For a perfectly jammy egg: cover one egg with water in a small saucepan, and bring it to boil. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, remove the pan from the heat and cover. Set a timer for five minutes. Fill a bowl with cold water. Once the timer goes off, plunge the egg into the bowl of cold water and let cool for a minute or so. Peel your perfect egg, slice, and place on buttered toast. Top with fresh dill and sea salt.
2. Tahini, banana, cinnamon, and sea salt: for when you’re craving something sweet and nutty but need a break from peanuts. The creaminess of the tahini and banana make for a dessert-worthy experience, while the cinnamon and salt give it a luxurious edge. Warning: this may become your new favorite snack
3. Almond butter and radishes: this is one of those weird snacks your mom makes that you totally knock until you try and then she says “I told you so…” Trust me. There’s something about crunchy almond butter balanced by the sharp bite of paper-thin sliced radishes that just…works. Any radish will taste delicious here, but daikon and watermelon are the prettiest.
4. Brown butter, sage, shiitake mushrooms, goat cheese, and caramelized onions: for when you just need to treat your damn self. You’ll need half an onion, about 7 small fresh sage leaves, 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms, and 3 tablespoons of butter. Roll 3 or 4 of the sage leaves so that they form a tight cigarette shape, then slice cross-ways so you end up with little ribbons of sage. Toss these into a small non-stick skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter, and sauté over high heat until the sage is fragrant and the butter is just beginning to brown. Add the diced onions, and cook until translucent and starting to brown (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Add the mushrooms and the remaining tablespoon of butter and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms begin to soften and turn slightly golden. Season with salt and black pepper. Spread your favorite goat cheese on a piece of toasted bread, and top with mushroom mixture. Season with remaining fresh sage leaves.
5. Avocado, lemon, chili flakes, and sea salt: for the record, this has been my go-to snack since I was about seven years old. But hey, these things go viral for a reason! There’s just no getting around the fact that avocado and toasted bread form a perfect union. The bread acts in a supporting role here so that avocado–that perfectly green, fatty, subtle, rich miracle–can take center stage. I never get fancy with additional toppings here. My love for avocado runs too deep. A squeeze of lemon, a shake of chili flakes, some really good salt, and you’ve achieved avo toast bliss.
6. Ricotta, blood orange, pistachios, mint, and balsamic vinegar: for a burst of simultaneously fresh-yet-decadent flavor. Think pistachio-mint ice cream with a hint of citrus and a little umami kick. This is a toast you can admire before devouring. Ricotta makes a creamy pillow for the tart-sweet blood oranges. Mint and pistachio add texture and depth (and a welcome pop of green), and a few drops of balsamic vinegar tie the whole thing together.