Nutrition Contributor: Caroline Coker
My mom is a pretty sensible “nose-to-tail” cook, but also an avid avocado lover, who got my vegetarian aunt hooked on smashed avocado toast before it was the rage. My stepfather who raised me likes to think of himself as a vegetarian, but he is definitely a very loosely defined flexitarian, giving in at least once a month to some meaty indulgence.
We often add summer sliced tomatoes and fresh basil to this morning toast, but I’m coming up with something a little more contemporary to add to the family recipe collection. This version is made with locally sourced Sourdough bread, decadent but low-fat ricotta cheese, organic cherry tomatoes, and moms household staple of lemons for the zest. It adds nice acidity this recipe.
I enjoy using thinly sliced radishes in many dishes and on toast, but for this version, I am choosing thinly sliced red onions. Not only are they beautiful, but they punch through the super creamy flavors of the avocado and ricotta, making for a bright and zesty breakfast, brunch, lunch or light dinner.
Zesty Open Faced Summer Sandwich
1 pound fresh low-fat ricotta cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
2 pinches coarse kosher salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
4 long, even slices of very good Sourdough boule bread
2 Hass avocados or 1 Florida perfectly ripe avocado, smashed to a chunky consistency
1 pint mixed-color grape tomatoes, cut in half horizontally
1 small red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Mix the ricotta with the lemon zest, salt and pepper, and set aside. Toast the bread, and arrange the slices of bread on a cutting board. Split the ripe avocados and remove the pits. With a spoon, scoop the inside of each avocado releasing the flesh and smash it lightly leaving a chunky consistency. Divide the avocado and ricotta mixture evenly among the four slices, spreading first the ricotta into a generous even layer, followed by the avocado. Attractively arrange the tomatoes by nestling them into the soft avocado and ricotta mixture. Then arrange the red onion slices over the tomatoes. Garnish each slice with the sesame seeds, a little lemon zest, and transfer to plates, finishing with a drizzle of good olive oil.
Note: Avocados are a fruit and high in monounsaturated fat, the good kind. California avocados (Hass) have dark, pebbly skin and are much creamier than the almost twice as large Florida avocado with smooth, bright green skin. An average-sized Florida avocado has about 300 calories, versus 200 calories for a typical California avocado.
Contributor Caroline Coker was raised on 30A, and has been living in South Walton, Florida since the age of five. She is passionate about health and fitness, and graduated in Nutritional Science from The University of Alabama in August 2015. You will find more of her work here at 30AEats.com on Beach Eats, recipes that she is working on for her first cookbook. Caroline also handles the social media for GulfCoastRestaurants.com.
Exciting news! Caroline’s recipe was featured on The Daily Meal!