Make Truly Terrific Avocado Toast With ‘Nduja

Get funky! (Photo: Claire Lower)
Get funky! (Photo: Claire Lower)

In spite of my elder millennial status, I’ve never been crazy about avocado toast. (And yet I still rent!) It’s fine — there’s nothing wrong with it — but I usually prefer scooping the avocado directly from its leathery peel into my mouth with a spoon.

But destiny had other plans for me. As part of a recent effort to eat more vegetables and go to the store less, I recently signed up for Imperfect Foods, a nice little program where produce (as well as meat and dairy if you like) get dropped off at your doorstep. A few weeks ago, I saw I could supplement my usual collection of fruits and vegetables with a tube of La Quercia ‘Nduja Americana as an add-on. You better believe I added it on.

I don’t know if I believe in fate, but it does seem like some higher pour placed the spicy, fermented pork spread right next to an avocado in the Imperfect box. My dad had also just brought me a nice boule he picked up at a bakery, and I just couldn’t ignore the signs. I had to make avocado toast, and I had to make it with ‘nduja.

I toasted a thick slice of bread, then laid down a thin layer of the hot and funky spreadable salume before mashing half of an avocado on top. I finished it with a little flaky salt, took a bite, and heard something akin to a hallelujah chorus. The flavours were perfect together. The spread was spicy and salty, yes, but also fruity in the way super-ripe peppers can be. It was quite rich, but never tasted heavy. The aggressive flavours in the ‘nduja cut through all of that fat, keeping the bites balanced and highlighting the avocado’s sweetness.

Unless you live near a fully realised Italian deli, finding ‘nduja can be a little tricky. In fact, the La Querica brand isn’t even true ‘nduja, but a “spicy prosciutto spread” made with the odds and ends left over from the company’s prosciutto and speck production. (It is, however, very good.) If you can find the real deal, grab it. If all you can find is ‘Nduja Americana, snag that one.

If you can’t find either, you can make your own very close approximation with store-bought cured meats and Calabrese peppers. All three options will serve you well in your avocado toast quest, no matter which generation you belong to.

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