There’s avocado toast, and there’s smørrebrød-style avocado toast.
The latter comes with certain unwritten rules, says Trine Hahnemann in her new book Open Sandwiches, a loving ode to the Danish tradition of serving dark rye bread with an array of toppings.
This tastes like summer in Denmark. Photo by James Ransom
Rule #1: When in doubt, use rye bread, preferably homemade. Rule #2: If you’re using butter, it better be salted. Rule #3: There must be a main topping, like avocado, and a few extra toppings to add, in this case, tomatoes and cottage cheese. And so on. Hans Christian Andersen himself was known to dig into one of these (smørrebrød, not avo toast) before supping at a dinner he was invited to, just to avoid potential disappointment. And if disappointment prevailed, he just asked his housekeeper to have one ready when he came home from dinner.
If only Hans could carry one of these portable smørrebrøds with him! Photo by Columbus Leth
This avocado toast is essentially the sandwich edition of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Yeah yeah, I know, his new clothes are actually no clothes, but that’s what I mean: The toast is so simple, so naked in its flavors, that it’s as interiorly rich as a fairy tale, minus any finger-wagging moral lesson. That’s why you want to make sure the quality is top-notch here; it will still be bonkers tasty if not, but show off your farmers market tomatoes, why don’t you?
A note on cottage cheese: Haters gon’ hate. That’s why Hahnemann offers mayonnaise as a substitute. But honestly, haters, cottage cheese is your friend. Its mild, easygoing taste and fluffy-yet-chewy texture matches—practically waltzes—with crunchy watercress. It helps that cottage cheese is so widely available, but you can make your own if you’re looking for a fun project. As Sarah Jampel asserts here, it’s having a moment. (She wrote that in 2016, though—have you experienced this moment? Do you think it will happen anytime soon? Comments section is below.)
- 4 slices rye bread (dark)
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 avocados
- 4 tablespoons cottage cheese
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon watercress
- 1-2 pinches sea salt flakes and freshly-ground pepper
If You Don’t Like Cottage Cheese, There’s Always…