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Best. Avocado. Toast. Ever.

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Best. Avocado. Toast. Ever. Photo by Sara Remington

Editor’s Note: Much of the editorial you see at Taste Publications will be new copy that is exclusive to us. However, we sometimes bring you information produced by other entities—especially when it seems as valid and timely as this article.

Californians know that this time of year means availability of fresh Dungeness crab. It’s also time when avocados are at their peak.  What could e better than enjoying these wintertime treats together? The following article was produced by Wine Institute in San Francisco. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Holy guacamole! It’s California avocado season. And it’s Dungeness crab season. Thank you, Mother Nature, for your impeccable timing. Because nothing improves avocado toast like putting some sweet, fresh crabmeat on top. Corn tostadas make a crunchy base and—bonus points—they’re gluten free. Chill a California white wine and enjoy.

The salad topping helps stretch the crabmeat; to save money, buy a cooked crab and extract the meat yourself. Can’t get crab? No worries. Check the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch for the best sustainable alternatives. Depending on where you live, rockfish, lingcod or U.S.-farmed shrimp could be a smart substitution.

The California avocado harvest starts in winter and revs up in spring. The bumpy-skinned Hass avocados dominate; they’re so smooth, rich, and buttery that no other variety can compete. Growers pick the fruits hard and they ripen off the tree. Firm ones will soften in a day or two in your kitchen; wait until they give to gentle pressure, then pounce. Never refrigerate avocados. They hate that.

Travel Tip

You’ll find dozens of crab-friendly Chardonnays in Monterey County tasting rooms; the county leads the state in growing Chardonnay grapes. And don’t miss the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Monterey’s Cannery Row; it’s a visitor favorite.

Wine diners Credit RobertHolmes PicmonkeyPhoto: Robert Holmes

The Pour

Which Wine?

White wine, please. That was easy. But now let’s drill down a bit in case you have options. White wines can be lean and sprightly or rich and creamy. The perfect choice depends on the crab preparation.

If the recipe relies on fresh herbs and lemon or lime juice, choose a leaner white wine such as California Sauvignon Blanc.

If the recipe includes butter and cream, open a richer white wine such as California Chardonnay.

If the recipe includes Asian seasonings (ginger, chilies, soy sauce, coconut milk), go with an aromatic white wine such as California Riesling.

 

The Recipe

Dungeness Crab and Avocado Tostadas

Unlike the bean- and cheese-laden tostadas served in many restaurants, these are featherlight and heart-healthy. The salad-like topping helps stretch the costly crabmeat, and you’ll save money by buying a cooked crab and extracting the meat yourself. Packaged tostada shells come in a variety of sizes; use any size you like. From Wine Country Table: Recipes Celebrating California’s Sustainable Harvest by Janet Fletcher

Wine suggestion: California Chardonnay or California Sauvignon Blanc

 

Ingredients

  • 2⁄3 cup (130 g) finely diced tomato
  • 1⁄3 cup (40 g) finely minced green onion, white and
  • pale green part only
  • 1⁄4 cup (10 g) chopped fresh cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 serrano chile, finely minced
  • 2 large, ripe avocados
  • 2 limes, 1 halved, 1 quartered
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 8 corn tostada shells, about 5 inches (13 cm) in diameter
  • 1 head pale, crisp romaine lettuce, about 6 ounces (185 g), halved lengthwise, then very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1⁄2 pound (250 g) Dungeness crabmeat
  • 1⁄3 cup (75 g) crema (Mexican-style sour cream)
  • Mexican-style hot sauce or Tabasco sauce, for serving (optional)

Serves 4

 

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the tomato, green onion, chopped cilantro, garlic, and as much of the minced chile as you like. Halve and pit the avocados, then scoop the flesh from the skin and add to the bowl. Squeeze the juice of 1∕2 lime over the avocado. Using a fork, mash the avocado coarsely, incorporating the other ingredients in the bowl as you work. Season with salt and add more juice from the other 1∕2 lime as needed to achieve a guacamole with good flavor.

Top the tostada shells with the guacamole, dividing it evenly and spreading it to the edges. Top each tostada with the romaine and then with the crab, dividing them evenly. Drizzle each tostada with 2 teaspoons crema. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve immediately with the lime wedges and with the hot sauce, if desired.

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