Toast is all the rage lately, and not just plain toast, I’m talking cream-of-the-crop toast, with the best toppings and spreads. Many high-end restaurants in the United States have been adding artisanal toast to their menus. It seems laughably simple to put a piece of crisped bread on a non-breakfast menu, or even to serve it to friends, but with fresh, inventive ingredients it can take the sweat out of lunch or brunch, without giving up on creativity.
Sure, you can put anything on toast, but like peanut butter and jam has taught us, the best combo is usually a mixture of sweet and salty.
If you use creamed cheese, or a spreadable goat’s cheese like Rancher Acres Chevre, as a base, a variety of herbs, jams, fruits and vegetables will be brought together by the tangy richness of the cheese. Also, pick up a good quality bread that can be sliced, or pre-sliced, very thin for best crispy toast results.
Lastly, the difference between regular toast and toast that will impress your dinner party is treating it with some finesse. Cut your ingredients up small and place them carefully, as if you’re making a tableau with that piece of crusty risen flour.
Fig, Candied Kumquat and Herb Toast
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Category: breakfast, lunch, brunch, snack, appetizer
4 large, thin slices of dark rye bread
6 kumquats, sliced into very thin rounds
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
6 gooseberries, sliced into thin rounds
3 large figs, cut into thin slices
1 container of spreadable creamed cheese or goat’s cheese
2 tablespoons of honey
1/4 cup parsley, freshly chopped
finishing salt and pepper, to taste, or a few pinches each
In a frying pan heat butter on low. Add kumquat slices to buttered pan and let simmer for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Add maple syrup to pan, and increase heat medium to low. Watch the kumquats simmer and caramelize in the syrup until they begin turning golden, then remove from heat. Spread the kumquats on wax paper and let cool.
Make well-done toast with the four slices of rye bread, but don’t burn it, then cover with a generous amount of creamed cheese.
Spread slices of kumquats, gooseberries and figs evenly over cheesed toast. Sprinkle each piece of toast with parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper, each. Drizzle each with a thin stream of honey.
Ta-da. Crunchy, creamy, savoury, sweet, healthy and the perfect pairing for Loire Sauvignon Blanc (with the similarities in taste profile.) Enjoy.