As the eye-popping colors of the summer seem to be quickly fading away into more earthy hues and blushes, only a small sliver of time remains to take pleasure in the freshly produced morsels of the warm weather season. My oven has only very minimally been used over the past several months (I’ve missed it terribly, actually), and meals have consisted primarily of wildly and beautifully strewn together salads, bowls of fresh fruit with cool toppings and simple stove-top pilafs, grain and rice dishes that won’t heat up the whole kitchen. Quick sandwiches on either fresh-baked, doughy bread or toasted-up warm slices have been quite favored here at the house. It’s been perfectly fresh, simple and seasonable cuisine, which is the best way to eat anyway; but meals are about to start changing again real soon. Good. I’m ready for that. I’m ready to get into heartier grub. But here’s one last hoorah to highlight the wonderful simplicity and color of the summer as it makes its way out.
It’s very easy for me to make a meal out of some rustic, lightly toasted bread and fresh toppings. A couple of thick slices piled up with gorgeous, bright and nutritious fresh ingredients and left open-faced so that my eyes can first partake before my mouth does, is all that I really need to satisfy my hunger for a simple supper. I don’t always feel like cooking anything, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel like making anything, or enjoying depth of flavor in a quick minute; sometimes, there’s just no time or energy for fussing over food, and a quick crisping of a couple slices of savory Prosciutto to go between juicy, sweet tomato and creamy avocado slices with a drizzle of vinaigrette is the very thing to enjoy at an easy pace.
The time is near for some of my favorite fresh produce to vanish for another season. A couple more weeks, and then it just won’t taste the same. Somehow an easy, seasonal supper seems like just the right way to send the remnants of summer off into the horizon, while the day is still a little on the longer side, and before the light completes its transformation into its new hue.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Crispy Prosciutto and Avocado Salad Toasts
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(Serves 2-4, depending on appetite)
4 thick slices Ciabatta bread
• Drizzles of olive oil
4 slices of Prosciutto
1 avocado, halved, peeled and pitted, and sliced thinly into 16 slices
1 large yellow heirloom tomato, sliced into 8 thin slices
1 large red heirloom tomato, sliced into 8 thin slices
¼ red onion, very thinly sliced
• Cilantro-Sunflower Seed Vinaigrette (recipe below)
-Drizzle each slice of Ciabatta bread with a little olive oil; toast the slices until golden, and set aside. (I toasted mine directly over the flame on my gas stove.)
-Crisp the Prosciutto by heating a non-stick pan over high heat and adding the slices to the pan for just a little while until the edges curl and the slices become crispy and golden; remove from pan and set aside.
-Build the toasts by putting one slice of the crispy Prosciutto onto the toasted Ciabatta slice, and next alternate to your liking the avocado slices (each toast gets 4) and heirloom tomato slices (each toast gets 2 yellow and 2 red slices); sprinkle just a few thin slices of red onion over top, and finally finish with a light drizzle of the Cilantro-Sunflower Seed Vinaigrette for a little fresh zing; serve 2 toasts per person, or 1 toast if for a light snack.
Cilantro-Sunflower Seed Vinaigrette ingredients:
1 clove garlic
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons roasted and salted sunflower seeds
2½ tablespoons limejuice
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
-In the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic clove, the cilantro leaves and the sunflower seeds, and pulse a few times; add the limejuice, the sea salt and black pepper and pulse a few more times to incorporate, and then with the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and process until well combined and fairly smooth; serve with toasts, or refrigerate until ready to use, and use any left over amount as a delicious topping for eggs or greens.