Elizabeth Baer is a teacher who loves to spend time in the kitchen. She also posts recipes and musings about food on her blog, culinursa.com/blog and can be reached at culinursa@gmail.com.

Avocado toast with figs and tomatoes

Tomatoes are for more than salads. Brighten up your avocado toast with figs and a few tomatoes.  

A fresh summer tomato needs nothing but a whisper of salt. I could eat plate after plate of them!

However it was not always this way. I remember clearly once, as children, we were on the road and needed to stop at a fast-food restaurant. My sister and I begged that we go to the one which, at the time, was using the “Have it your way” slogan since we wanted our burgers plain. But they messed up and our burgers had tomato on them. The horror! It was not a pretty sight.

I have changed my ways, and during the summer I’m always improvising with tomatoes. Some I oven-roast, which makes them taste like sun-dried tomatoes, and keep them in the freezer to use through the winter. (Plum tomatoes, cut in half, cut side up on a foil-lined half sheet pan, with salt, pepper, thyme, garlic powder and olive oil, in a convection oven at 300 F for 3-4 hours. In a regular oven it’ll just take longer.) Others I make into purée — both red and yellow tomatoes — and that also goes into the freezer. (Cook rough chopped tomatoes with a bit of salt over medium heat until soft; put through a food mill; return to the pot and reduce to desired consistency.)

I do know a few folks who will eat tomato sauce or tomato ketchup, but never a raw slice of tomato. On the other hand, my niece will eat a tomato as one might eat an apple! So for all those tomato aficionados out there, here are a couple of my most recent delights with tomatoes, and they are both super simple!

TOMATO, AVOCADO AND PEACH SALAD

A tomato, avocado and peach salad. 

TOMATO, AVOCADO AND PEACH SALAD

Serves 2-4, can be multiplied

INGREDIENTS

1 large peach

2 ripe tomatoes, sliced

1 ripe avocado, halved, sliced, pit and skin discarded

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil

1 sprig fresh basil, leaves torn or cut into small strips

Optional additions: balsamic glaze, mozzarella, toasted nuts

DIRECTIONS

If you don’t mind peach skin, just cut into wedges and discard the pit. If you would prefer the peach peeled, cut a very shallow cross through the skin on the bottom of the peach. Then drop in boiling water for 45-60 seconds. Remove and allow to cool briefly. The skin should peel off easily, and a small knife can remove any stubborn bits. Then cut into wedges and discard the pit.

Arrange the tomato slices, avocado slices, and peach wedges on a platter or on individual plates. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Just before serving scatter the basil on top, and any optional additions.

AVOCADO TOAST WITH FIGS AND TOMATOES

Serves 1, can be multiplied

INGREDIENTS

2 slices good sourdough or other hearty bread

1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted

2 fresh, ripe figs, stemmed and quartered

10 currant tomatoes, or 5 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

Pinch fresh ground pepper

1-2 teaspoons high quality, thick balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze

DIRECTIONS

Toast the bread until golden brown. Place the toast on a plate and drizzle with olive oil. Scoop the avocado out of the skin, placing half on each of the slices of toast. With the back of a fork, smush the avocado onto the toast. Arrange the fig quarters and tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar or glaze.

Elizabeth Baer is a teacher who loves to spend time in the kitchen. She also posts recipes and musings about food on her blog, culinursa.com/blog and can be reached at culinursa@gmail.com.