This week in LA it's been hot. Like, end-of-the-world hot. I have no AC, so I've been playing with recipes that don't require much stove time. I rotate between salad, and avocado toast.
I love a good avocado toast, especially with a poached egg, but in its most basic form, it can be a little bland. Even with this heat, I need a little kick. Like a sweet-tart burst of melted tomato and a resounding smack of harissa.
Melted tomatoes are the most delicious new trick I've learned lately. You boil cherry tomatoes for a minute, then peel the skins off. It seems like a really fiddly thing to do, but once you taste them, you'll get it. You'll want to make them all the time. Without the skin, the flavor of the tomato surges forward, uninhibited by its clothes, mingling effortlessly with any other flavors around it. Like sea salt. Or garlic. Or in this case, spicy harissa paste.
This is a great recipe for a weekend brunch or light dinner. Especially when its 110 degrees, you're cooking in your bathing suit, and want to eat standing at the counter so you don't sweat all over the furniture.
Harissa Avocado Toast with Melted Tomatoes
Yield: Serves 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 10 min Total Time: 20 min
4 thick slices crusty bread
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 Tbs white vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp harissa paste
Maldon sea salt
freshly ground pepper
Handful of baby arugula
First, toast the bread.
Meanwhile, fill the saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Cut a small X in each cherry tomato, then add to saucepan. Boil for about a minute. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon. Once cooled a bit carefully peel the skin from each tomato, discarding the skins.
Add vinegar to saucepan. Turn down heat so the water is just barely simmering. With handle of spoon, swirl the water into a vortex. Crack an egg into a small bowl, and slide it into the vortex. Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, til white is just set and yolk is runny. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining eggs.
Whisk olive oil with harissa, and drizzle about half of the mixture over the tomatoes along with a pinch of sea salt and a grind of pepper.
Smear 1/4 of the avocado over each slide of toast, and sprinkle with sea salt. Top each toast with a poached egg and some of the melted tomatoes. Season egg with salt and pepper, and drizzle on some harissa oil.
Serve with a side of arugula drizzled with more oil.