SEPTEMBER 9, 2013

MEET THE SOUS CHEF

JULYA SHIN, CHEF DE CUISINE, PIZZAIOLO

Chef de cuisine Julya Shin, of Pizzaiolo in Oakland, has some advice for kitchen greenhorns. "Relax. When you take cooking too seriously you take all the fun out of it."

Shin's recipe for avocado toasts topped with tomato salad--an homage to late summer if ever we've tasted one--is, she says, "a basic outfit that you can accessorize." Swap burrata for the avocado, add blanched green beans, or use cilantro and jalapeño chiles in place of mint and basil. Dressed up or down, it's still one of the finest no-cook dishes of late summer.


Alanna Hale
MAKE THE
Avocado Toasts with Heirloom Tomatoes and Herbs
Avocado Toasts with Heirloom Tomatoes and Herbs

YIELD

2 servings (plus leftover tomato salad)

TIME

Prep: 45 minutes

Cook: 5 minutes

Total: 50 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Red onion, ¼ medium (thinly sliced)

Red wine vinegar, ½ cup

Ripe heirloom tomatoes, 2 medium (cored and cut into bite-size pieces)

Cherry or grape tomatoes, ¾ cup (preferably Sungold tomatoes; halved)

Mixed herbs (such as basil, cilantro and mint), 1 cup (roughly torn)

Sea salt, 1 teaspoon, plus extra for serving

Extra-virgin olive oil, ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons

Good quality day-old bread, 2 thick slices

Garlic clove, 1 (peeled and halved)

Ripe Hass avocado, ½ (pitted, quartered lengthwise and peeled)

Persian cucumber, 1 (peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds)

Freshly ground black pepper

Crème fraîche (or yogurt), 2 tablespoons (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. To a small bowl, add the:

  • Sliced red onion
  • Red wine vinegar

Set aside to macerate for 5 minutes

2. To a medium bowl, add the:

  • Chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • Halved cherry tomatoes
  • Torn herbs
  • 1 teaspoon of the sea salt
  • ½ cup of the extra-virgin olive oil
  • Macerated red onion plus 2 tablespoons of the red wine vinegar macerating liquid

 Stir to combine and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.

3. Into a toaster, such as the KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series 2-Slice Automatic Toaster, add the:

  • Bread slices

Once they are golden-brown, use a pastry brush to lightly coat the bread with the:

  • Remaining 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Then rub with the:

  • Halved garlic clove

On each piece of toast, place an:

  • Avocado quarter

Use a fork to smash the avocado onto the toast. Season with a:

  • Pinch of sea salt

Place the toasts onto the plates.

4. To the bowl with the tomato mixture, add the:

  • Sliced cucumber

Stir to combine, then spoon some of the tomato salad over each toast. Sprinkle with the:

  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Drizzle with the:Crème fraîche or yogurt, if using

Serve.

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STEP BY STEP

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TIPS & TECHNIQUES

Mix It Up

Shin's recipe is meant to be a guideline, not an absolute. A handful of brilliant modifications include swapping the avocado for creamy burrata or fresh mozzarella cheese, and adding blanched green beans to the tomato salad--in place of or in addition to the cucumber. Or swap cilantro for the mint and basil, and add minced jalapeño and a squeeze of lime.

Toast With the Most

For a completely oven-off meal, use a toaster for the bread, like the KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series 2-Slice Automatic Toaster, which has a Keep Warm function that keeps toast warm. Or drizzle the slices of bread with olive oil and broil in the oven until browned, or grill the slices on a gas or charcoal grill until charred in spots.

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