Every week in Genius Recipes—often with your help!—Food52 Creative Director and lifelong Genius-hunter Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that will change the way you cook.
In my struggle to come to terms with the idea of food trending and then going away, I think of it this way: The best food trends lift up more dishes for us to love, and the good ones stick.
Avocado toast, of course, is one of the good ones.
Avocado toast was here long before we all started talking about it and it will be here long after we’ve stopped. (Unicorn frappuccinos, sadly, will not.)
Maybe we’ll stop paying $16 for it at restaurants one day, but at home, we’re firmly committed. (Google doesn’t see us not-talking about it anytime soon, either—searches are still growing, peaking in January each year.)
But despite (or maybe because of) it living in my forever collection of thingamabobs and quick snacks, I always seem to top in the same predictable way: lemon for acid, cumin for warmth, chile for heat. Each choice is about framing and contrasting with a raft of creamy avocado.
And, obviously, salt. Because everything needs salt—especially avocado, the richest fruit, the subtlest butter. Right?
Well, no. As I learned from Apollonia Poilâne’s shockingly delicious avocado tartines in her new cookbook, Poilâne, none of this is necessarily true. With more thoughtful seasoning, not everything needs salt—even for a palate like mine that expects generous amounts of it.
Instead, Apollonia seasons her tartines with lime zest and juice, chile flakes, and honey—each balancing and brightening and delicately elbowing salt out of the picture—but also, less predictably, with ripe banana.
This is where my contrasts-only avocado toast philosophy really fails. Banana is more of a cousin to avocado than a foil. Their textures are almost indistinguishable, soft on more soft, and their flavors must surely sit in the same zone of our taste buds or those wine-tasting wheels: Mild. Creamy. Palatable. (Babies love them.)
But sometimes setting two things this similar next to each other can draw out their subtle differences more: The banana tastes a bit sweeter, the avocado a little more green.
The Genius Desserts cookbook is here! With more than 100 of the most beloved and talked-about desserts of our time (and the hidden gems soon to join their ranks) this book will make you a local legend, and a smarter baker to boot.
I'm an ex-economist, ex-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."