I have fully embraced the New York breakfast of boiled dough spread thick with an inch of cream cheese.
Bagels fuel the working week in NYC. Every Tuesday at work there is a long meeting that uses bagels to lure people in. We take turns in bringing the bagels, which means we start each meeting dissecting today’s batch, comparing them to the reigning favourite provider. If you bring sub-par bagels, you put productivity in jeopardy. These chewy rolls demand respect, and I’m happy to give it to them.
But sometimes, I miss Australian breakfasts.
A thick slice of toast smothered in creamy avocado and spiked with fresh herbs and citrus is happiness on a plate to me. It tastes like home, or, more specifically, a menu item at one of my favourite cafes in Melbourne. So when I feel a longing for Australia, I make Homesick Toast.
There are three key elements to this recipe: ripe avocado, sturdy toast and flavoursome cheese.
There is a fine balance between a beautifully ripe avocado and one sporting brown mushy sections. Avocados are a climacteric fruit, which means they mature on the tree but ripen off it. Bananas do this too, but bananas helpfully change colour when they’re about to go past their prime (and into the freezer ready for banana cake another day).
A perfectly ripe avocado will yield to gentle pressure, but so will a brown, stringy one. The trick I learned this week via The Kitchn is to remove the little button at the stem end of the avocado and check the colour underneath. If it’s green, you’ll find delicious creamy flesh inside. If it’s brown, you’ll be presented with a sepia, more slimey and not overly appetizing version. Avoid those.
You want a robust bread for this recipe that will give support to the mushy topping. Pick bread that is free of gaping holes and crumbly crusts. A dense sourdough loaf from your local baker is perfect.
If you can get your hands on some good quality marinated goats cheese, do that. Or, if you’re organised, you can make it yourself with a recipe like this one from Saveur. Feta (from goat or cow) also works really well. I am very partial to an Australian goats cheese from Meredith Dairy, and was lucky to find it in my local cheese store in Brooklyn – even better for a taste of home.
Lime and mint make a guest appearance in this recipe, taking a break from their traditional cocktail duties, to provide some levity and zing.
You may not be homesick, but you can travel to Melbourne vicariously through this toast, and I can assure you that it’s a lovely place to visit.
Update: Simple Provisions readers have sent in their version of homesick toast – check them out here.
Homesick Toast (Avocado and Goats Cheese with Lime on Toast)
Serves 2 for breakfast or lunch
2 thick slices of your favourite bread
Juice of 1/2 a lime
2 teaspoons chopped mint, plus a bit extra for presentation
60g goat cheese or feta
Salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
Toast your bread. While it’s in the toaster, halve, pit and peel your avocado and scoop out the flesh with a spoon then pop it in a bowl.
Mash the avocado with a fork and mix in the lime juice and mint. Crumble your cheese and fold it into the avocado mixture, leaving some bits chunky.
Spread the avocado mixture onto your toast and top with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle some extra mint to make it pretty and serve with lime wedges on the side.