March 08, 2016
We love our junk food here at Boredwalk HQ, but we also never met a salad we didn't want to get down with.
The great thing about salads is that they're kind of like soups — you can more or less just chop up whatever you've got in the crisper (within reason), toss it in a bowl, and season it with a complimentary dressing for a quick, healthy meal.
One of our fave go-to's is avocado toast. It can come in lots of different incarnations — so long as there's toasted bread and avocado involved, you can stay simple with just a slice and a schmear, or Dagwood it up to your heart's content.
Last weekend we decided to try our hand at deconstructing our favorite open-faced sandwich into a salad comprised of its component parts. Strap in; this ride is about to get delicious!
First, we headed over to our favorite local supermarket and gathered our fresh ingredients:
• (1) extra-large Haas avocado (or two smaller ones)
• (1) pkg grape or cherry tomatoes (we went with grape)
• (1) bunch fresh basil (Italian is best for this application, but we won't kick you out of bed for substituting Thai)
• (1) sourdough demi baguette (if you can't find a demi, get a full baguette and just wrap half of it in plastic & foil and stick it in the freezer until the next time you need to make some croutons or crostini)
As always, take care to select ripe veggies! As heavenly as it is when perfectly ripe, there are few things in life as disappointing as biting into hard, bland avocado.
To Make Salad:
- Preheat oven to 400º F. Slice baguette into 1" rounds and then slice rounds into 1" cubes. Place cubes onto foil-lined baking sheet, and bake until fragrant and just beginning to develop brown edges. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Cut avocado into a healthy dice (about 1/2" cubes) and add to salad bowl.
- Wash & slice tomatoes width-wise into halves or thirds (depending on size); add to bowl.
- Wash & chiffonade basil; add to bowl. As you can tell from our photos, it doesn't have to be a true chiffonade with super-fine ribbons — ours were about 1/4" wide. It just makes for a nicer presentation than a rough chop does.
- Toss everything (including your sourdough croutons) to mix well. Hand-tossing is preferable so as not to demolish the avocado cubes, but by no means required.
- Divvy up into smaller bowls or on salad plates.
If your sous chef is helping you out in the kitchen, don't leave them hanging — they've worked up an appetite, too!
Now you'll want to retrieve some stuff from your pantry:
We wanted to keep things simple to let the natural flavors and textures of our ingredients be the stars that they are. It's best to dress each serving individually to avoid over-saturating the basil and making your croutons soggy.
No real measuring needed here — we sure didn't! Just start with light drizzles of olive oil & balsamic vinegar and light sprinklings of sea salt and cracked or ground black pepper and add a bit more to suit your taste.