The avocado is a healthy staple in our California kitchen. Avocados are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber and high in monounsaturated fat. They are rich in potassium, zinc, and B vitamins, as well as vitamins C, E and K. Due to their creamy texture and subtle flavor, the avocado is a perfect base for dips, drinks and even ice cream, while their coolness provides a foil to spice and heat in salsas and salads. Having said that, my favorite way to eat an avocado is on grilled bread with lemon and sea salt. When I feel extra fancy, I reduce balsamic vinegar to a viscous syrup which I paint on the avocado slices. The only adornment required is a pinch of sea salt and a shower of black pepper. It’s simple, sublime and all about the avocado.
Avocado Bruschetta with Balsamic Syrup
Serves 1 to 2
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 slices levain bread, 1/2 inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled, partially smashed
1 ripe but firm Hass avocado
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until vinegar reduces by half and has a thick syrup consistency, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Preheat oven broiler or grill pan. Brush bread slices on both sides with olive oil. Rub with garlic clove. Toast in oven or on pan until golden brown, turning once. Transfer to a plate.
Trim tip of avocado. Run knife vertically around center of avocado, cutting into flesh until knife meets the pit. Gently twist the avocado open and remove pit. Carefully remove the skin, keeping avocado intact. Thinly slice avocado halves crosswise. Arrange avocado slices on bread, overlapping in an accordian pattern. Brush with balsamic syrup. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and generously season with black pepper.