In college I had a roommate who loved avocado so much that she made Avocado-Lettuce-Tomato sandwiches and nixed the bacon all together. I can't say that I blamed her since there is something otherworldly about the creamy, fatty flesh of an avocado that is undeniably superior to almost every other vegetable. A true bacon-phile would find this vegetarian substitution a sacrilege, but I am not one of those. Who wants to choose between bacon and avocado, anyway? Luckily, with this sandwich from Julie Buiso in Bon Appetite, you can have both. The only difficult choice you will have to make will be whether or not to have a second.
I was initially skeptical of the kiwi and cilantro salsa that got spooned over the top of the crispy salty bacon strips. After all, kiwi, that beautiful fruit with its trademark tang and micro-crunch is... a fruit. After I thought about it I realized fruits get swapped into salsa all the time: pineapple, mango, apricot etc. etc. So what is stopping a kiwi? I can tell you, not much. The kiwi is reminiscent of a tomatillo - a traditional ingredient in salsa verde - in texture and flavor intensity and right up mango alley as far as sweetness. Plus, it has a trademark tang that is hard to find anywhere else. In all honesty it is a no-brainer: kiwis are affordable, relatively easy to find and extraordinarily forgiving when it comes to storage. What could be better?
As much as I liked the kiwi salsa I wasn't opposed to enjoying it on some corn chips or smeared on crackers either. In fact, I enjoyed it on some whole grain bagel crisps almost immediately. In the sandwich's defense the avocado makes this dish very filling. The salty bacon, which I skipped on my first round of sandwiches, is the perfect partner for the sweet salsa and creamy avocado and a natural accompaniment to any good sandwich. Plus, the ingredients can morph seamlessly from a lunch to happy hour to a simple snack with very little effort. Step aside egg salad, this is my new favorite weekend sandwich.
Apparently, Tuesday afternoons a farmers market sprouts on the street behind our building. I stopped by after work and was pleasantly surprised to find stalls with bison, grass fed beef, herbs, fresh cut flowers and potted plants and, best of all, bread. I bought one beautiful loaf of sunflower-flax bread and have been exceedingly pleased with it. There is no better excuse to make a good sandwich than a gorgeous loaf of bread.
Notes: A ripe kiwi will give just slightly when light pressure is applied to the skin - the same can be said of an avocado - But, if you wind up with unripe fruits just leave them on a warm counter for 1-3 days. If you need to speedup the process put them in a paper bag, rolled shut, with a slice of apple. Overnight, the fruit should ripen sufficiently. To do the opposite, and keep the fruit from ripening, just put it in the vegetable keeper of your refrigerator.
Tips: Prepare you avocado just before serving. Once the flesh is exposed to oxygen it will begin to darken. Use lemon or lime juice to slow down the browning, but don't expect bright green flesh more than a few hours after cutting. Slice the fruit long ways, sliding the knife along the pit. Then, score each half, to the skin but not through it, like a tick-tack-toe board. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.
Avocado Toasties with Kiwi Salsa and Bacon
Bon Appetite December 2010
4 slices of crispy bacon
1/2 tablespoon lime juice, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey
3/4 cup peeled, diced kiwi
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 green onion, finely sliced
1 teaspoon hot sauce
4 slices of good sandwich bread
1. Cook bacon until crisp. Peel and dice the kiwi.
2. Whisk the honey and lime juice in a bowl. Toss the kiwi, cilantro, green onion and hot sauce in a bowl with the honey and lime juice.
3. Toast the bread on both sides in a skillet or under the broiler.
4. Peel and mash the avocado with the remaining lime juice. Spread in fourths over each slice of bread. Top each slice of bread with kiwi salsa and a slice of bacon. Serve immediately.