I’m so ready for avocados to be in season. Avocado toast with pumpkin seeds and cilantro is one of my favorite tartines. It’s light, delicious and makes a great, refreshing meal on hot summer days. One of the keys to success is using the best bread you can get your hands on. The taste and texture of quality bread creates a base that supports the flavors you build onto it.
Yield: 2 meal sized toasts when paired with a salad
2 – 1 inch thick slices of bread cut from a hearty country-style loaf
1 medium sized ripe avocado
1/2 cup small green pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas
15 leaves of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
lemon oil (optional), 5 or 6 drops per toast
Crushed chili or Aleppo pepper flakes, 1 pinch per toast
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat a small skillet on medium-low heat. Add 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil and get it hot.
Add the pumpkin seeds and season with a pinch and salt and black pepper. Stir or toss them frequently on medium-low heat until they are pale green and there are a few light brown ones. This will take about 4 minutes.
Pour the pumpkin seeds onto a paper towel to absorb excess oil and set aside for later.
Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat until very hot.
Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil evenly over both sides of the bread.
Place the bread on the hot grill pan, it should sizzle and smoke a little bit. Cook for about 45 seconds then turn, there should be nice grill marks. Grill for another 45 seconds and flip. Repeat the process and set aside.
Cut your avocado in half by pushing a sharp knife into the pit of the avocado (see the pic below). Run your knife completely around the pit of the avocado cutting it in half around the pit. Pull the two halves apart and gently hit the pit of the avocado with your knife. The belly of your knife should be lodged in the avocado pit. Gently twist to dislodge the pit from the avocado flesh.
Lay your two toasts side by side. scoop the avocado flesh from the skin and evenly divide it between them. Smash and spread it with a fork so the avocado is evenly distributed over the toasts. Season with a little salt and pepper. Press the toasted pumpkin seeds into the avocado. Sprinkle over the cilantro, chili flakes and a few drops of lemon oil. Serve immediately.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a grill pan. A toaster or the broiler in your oven will work as well.
There are a lot of different toppings you can use for avocado toast.
Try some different cheeses like queso fresco or Manchego. Chunks of crispy bacon or grilled chorizo are amazing on this.
Soft herbs like basil, chives, parsley and chervil are just as good as cilantro.
Top this with some small pieces of Lemons in Rosemary Syrup.