Get the Most Out of Your Toast with New Toppings
If you think toast is boring to make or to eat, Jill Donenfeld’s new book, Better on Toast, challenges you to think again. The book is a 70-recipe adventure into the world of open-faced toast possibilities, and it’s a delicious ride from the first dish to the last. “It’s not rocket science we’re talking about here,” Donenfeld writes. “It’s not even molecular gastronomy… Food tastes better when it’s eaten on a piece of hot, crispy bread.”
How right she is. With dishes ranging from the Avocado Classic Toast (mashed avocado on toast with lemon and red pepper flakes, drizzled with olive oil) to the luscious, creamy Tomatillo Egg Toast (pictured above and recipe below for you to savor at home), you’ll find a whole collection of crusty, mouthwatering recipe gems. Donenfeld covers everything from proper breadselection and toasting technique to using up leftover ingredients in the rare event you find you haven’t eaten the whole dish in one go. There are visual guides that show how you can take one ingredient and dress it up a handful of ways ( like the burrata toasts below, and another similar feature of ricotta variations). She even includes a wonderful little note template for you to use when inviting neighbors over to try your new favorite toast recipes. (Or not … nobody would fault you for wanting to keep these plates all to yourself.)
Toast itself is a simple concept, but really good toast can be made with just a few small tweaks to the cooking process. Get the most out of each crispy, crunchy bite with these tips from Donenfeld:
Don't: Dry-toast in the toaster oven — this makes for dry, flaky toast.
Do: Toast with a fat (mayo, butter, oil) in a pan — this creates a crispy crust that melts into the interior of the bread as you take a bite.
Do: Spread an even layer across each side of the slice, and get to the edge — by not doing this, you risk unevenly toasting or even burning your toast.
Do: Wait until the pan has heated, then get to toasting; otherwise your fat will sink too far into the toast. You want a seared exterior and a fluffy, warm, pure interior.
Which recipes in the book are some of Donenfeld’s personal favorites? “French Onion Toast was a happy revelation!” she told us (and we’re inclined to agree). “Also, I wanted to do something with cauliflower, and when I thought of the cauliflower melts, it was definitely a pat-myself-on-the-back moment.”
Heat up your skillet and get your bread knife ready; toast isn’t just for breakfast anymore. You can order your own copy of Better on Toast here.
Makes 8 toasts, with extra mash and sauce.
Babin’ ain’t easy. And this is one smokin’ toast. You could serve this on tortillas, of course. And adding Cotija cheese would be great, too. You’ll have extra sauce and black bean mash, so you can have eggs for days.
10 medium fresh tomatillos, husked, or one 13-ounce can tomatillos, drained
1. Rub the bread vigorously with the garlic (reserve the garlic). Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil, and pan-toast the bread (see page 6).
2. To make the tomatillo sauce, boil the tomatillos in salted water until soft, about 10 minutes. (If using canned tomatillos, skip boiling them.) Using a blender, puree the tomatillos, the reserved garlic, 3/4 cup of the cilantro, the jalapeno, onion, salt and pepper until smooth. Add a little water to thin it (1/3 cup, roughly).* Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, mash the black beans, avocado and lime juice, leaving the mixture a little chunky. Spread about 1⁄3 cup on each toast and set aside.
4. Heat the tomatillo sauce in a large pan over high heat. When hot, crack 2 or 3 eggs (don’t crowd them) into the sauce and cook until the whites are opaque but the yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove each egg with a slotted spoon and place it on a toast.
5. Let the sauce cook down to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the creme fraiche, and pour about 1/4 cup over each toast. Garnish with the remaining cilantro and another hit of pepper.
*Idea! Instead of boiling the tomatillos, you can roast them if you feel like turning on the oven. Just peel off the papery covering and roast at 400 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes.
FILL YOUR PLATE: Have the toasts with the black bean–avocado mash and serve eggs on the side to make a full-plate brekky.
Reprinted from Better on Toast by Jill Donenfeld. Copyright © 2015 by Jill A. Donenfeld. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.