I love brunch!! Breakfast is awesome, but it usually ends up more about efficiency than execution or awesomeness. My typical breakfasts are a rotating cycle of yogurt and granola, oatmeal, apple slices and peanut butter, and smoothies. Ya know, easy things that take less than 5 minutes and fuel you up in a sufficient & efficient manner. They may do the trick on a week-day morning, but none of these items are “brunch worthy.”
Brunch should be moderately more time consuming, have a slightly impressive presentation, require guest participation/customization, and be easy to serve in large quantities.
Pancakes, waffles, or french toast bars are brunch mainstays with good reason! Customizable toppings mean there is something for everyone. And, if you whip out the griddle, you can crank out some serious volume! Or there is always the egg casserole option (the spongy Easter brunch tradition and my least favorite). Who can forget the classic omelette bar, but lets face it, it’s hard to make omelette orders for a large group!
Enter the Avocado Toast with Poached Eggs.
A post on a recipe where the 3 main ingredients are in the title seems a little unnecessary, but I love this dish as a brunch for so many reasons! First, this recipe is impossible to mess up…. Ok, well maybe not impossible, since poaching eggs isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Secondly, everyone can participate in its creation by delegating the toasting, chopping, and assembly. When everyone is gathered around my kitchen island working on a component of the meal, it feels like the event is more about the coffee, tea, and company than it does about the elaborate prep-work of an intentionally impressive spread. I love this approach whether its family who comes over all the time or new friends who aren’t an sure-footed in the environment – nothing breaks the ice like teamwork. Depending on the crowd, the dynamic may differ but the result is the same: a low key, low pressure brunch.
Delegating this meal is simple. I usually poach the eggs and delegate the other tasks, but if in the presence of an egg poaching pro, I am happy to step aside! Cutting crusty french bread and slicing avocado are both simple, delegate-able tasks. So is manning, checking, and flipping the toast slices under the oven broiler. Final assembly and seasoning is a snap! With a couple words of instruction, my kitchen-challenged brother was topping these with the final seasonings like a pro! Sometimes I wonder why I bother with elaborate menus and impressive spreads. This is more fun and just as tasty.
Even if you have a large crowd, this recipe will work! A large cookie sheet and the broiler of your oven, allows you to toast many servings at once. If you need to poach eggs in batches, a shallow baking dish like a 9×13 covered in foil will keep the eggs the right amount of warm, or stick the 9×13 in a 200 degree oven if you are concerned.
On a tangental note: One quick word to those who feel that all toast is created equal. I am here to bust that bubble and tell you that only a French-style crusty loaf will do. No sandwich bread. Not even nutty, seedy whole wheat (although in other circumstances, I love whole wheat toast). Do as the Parisians do and make a special trip if you have to. With simple dishes like this, quality matters even more!
Avocado Toasts with Poached Eggs
Servings: Totally customizable, but the quantities below are based on 4 servings
Serving suggestion: one egg per toast, two toasts per guest
Total time: 10 minutes (unless working in batches for large group)
- 1 crusty loaf of bread, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 large avocados
- 8 eggs (I prefer the taste of grain-fed, organic brown eggs)
- 2 tsp. white vinegar
- Salt and Pepper
- Smoked Paprika
In a large skillet, add enough water to measure a depth of approximately 3/4-1 inch. Add in 2 tsp. vinegar and bring to a slow simmer and cover pan.
While water is being brought to a simmer, arrange toasts on large baking sheet. Move oven rack to upper position.
Chop avocados into thin slices or mash, if you prefer.
Poach eggs. Use a large kitchen ladle to cup the egg while immersing in the water. Keep egg inside ladle to help it keep its shape during the first few seconds of poaching. Do not crowd the pan. My skillet can cook about 4-5 eggs at once. Depending on the size of your group, this will likely require working in batches or using two large skillets to prep eggs. Watch eggs closely and make sure they aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pan. Eggs will cook the most quickly with the lid of the pan on. After about 90 seconds flip the eggs. And cook for around 30 more seconds. Transfer to foil covered 9×13.
While eggs are poaching, use the broiler to make the toasts. Flipping after the top side is sufficiently toasted.
Top the toasts with around 1/8-1/4 avocado per slice of toast and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add one poached egg to the top, another sprinkle of salt and petter, and a generous sprinkling of smoked paprika.