Watching the ever-blue skies of Texas in my rearview mirror, in anticipation of the tree-laced city of Birmingham, I knew I would miss a few things about the gargantuan state I was parting with. The first thing that sprung to my mind: a prolific supply of avocados. I was deprived for most of my life of this vibrant fodder, mostly, because it was green. I was a willful child. No one in my family would touch a chartreuse mash of guacamole. Therefore, I believed that I could never love it as well.
Then, I discovered that cooking with this graciously green fare was something to be cherished, never to be avoided. My attitude changed when I experienced guacamole being made tableside. Artistry like this should always be savored and explored, never rejected.
Using an enormous molcajete mortar and pestle, our waiter threw fresh garlic into the vessel, grinding the poor souls with salt until it resembled paste. Then came the highlight of the dish, perfectly ripe avocados. Scooping the green flesh into the basin, he quickly pounded and stirred the ingredients until completely smooth. While adding lime juice and cilantro, he gave the mixture a quick stir, then finished off the guacamole with salt and, poof , our waiter was off to another table. He left behind the molcajete bowl with a basket of fresh homemade tortilla chips. Leaving the chips to the rest of the clan, I plunged into the guacamole, spoon first, no chip required. The buttery quality of the avocado was unobstructed by any other textures. The rest of the ingredients only elevated the flavors in the dish, but it was clear that the star of the saucer was the avocado. I shamelessly confess that I ate all of the guacamole. So here is a toast to the grand state of Texas, which is literally on toast.
This recipe includes all of the ingredients of guacamole, but it is presented in a fresh new way with just a hint of garlic on the toast. The avocados retain their beautiful, buttery texture while still in small chunks. Spritz on a little lime juice with a dash of heat from red pepper flakes to finish and you will be in heaven!
Recipe: Inspired by Bon Appétit, July 2012
Serves 4 as an appetizer
½ of a French baguette
2 tablespoons of butter
1 clove of garlic
2 ripe avocados, cubed
1 lime, juiced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Place a griddle pan on medium-high heat. Slice baguette on the bias, about 1 inch thick or so. Spread the butter on both sides of the bread. Place the bread onto the pan, toasting on both sides until brown and crispy. Once browned, take the garlic clove and gently rub onto one side of the hot, toasted bread.
In a separate bowl, combine the avocado chunks and the lime juice. Toss to coat. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the avocado mixture onto the pieces of bread. Finish off with a drizzle of oil on each piece of toast and enjoy!