Given the extremely profound subject matter of The Dude Diet, I felt the need to escape the hustle and bustle of NYC and go somewhere to dig into the writing process. Tackling the twisted psyche of a nutritionally confused dude along with important issues like the meat sweats demands a significant amount of deep thought, and such thinking is best done in a quiet and peaceful setting. So, I threw caution to the wind, packed up my computer and writer’s uniform, and headed up to Mount Desert Island (my happy place) for a week of unbridled creativity.
Luckily, my Dad’s house is pretty much the ideal location for a solo writer’s retreat. Perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean, it’s blissfully silent except for the sound of the waves and the cicadas, and the liquor cabinet is always fully stocked. Sure, the place is a little spooky after dark (and being asked repeatedly by family and friends whether I’m “terrified to be alone in that house” doesn’t exactly help), but if you turn all the lights on and keep reminding yourself that the ice machine is making that noise and not a murderer/wild animal, it’s really not that bad.
I’m only two days in, but I’m pleased to report that my Walden Pond-ing is off to a very promising start. I’m loving the alone time, the sea breeze, and the view from my outdoor office, and writing on a screened porch is even more inspiring than I imagined! It’s nice to feel so close to nature while still being safely separated from it (thank God). Just yesterday, as I was typing a riveting recipe headnote about Logan’s love of corned beef hash, I looked up to find a deer watching me from no more than 15 feet away. We entered into an intense staring contest (during which I snapped this pic and Googled “do deer attack?”), until I finally retreated to make some Lobster Avocado Toast and lock myself in for the night. I’m basically Thoreau.
This fancy toast was inspired by a recent brunch offering at Morandi, one of my go-to Italian spots in the West Village. After experiencing the combo of creamy, citrus-spiked avocado, sweet lobster meat and fiery jalapeños, I felt compelled to recreate it at home, and now I’m sort of addicted. Based on its simplicity and the fact that I’m in Maine and have easy access to cheap lobster, I’ve decided to make Lobster Avocado Toast my writer’s retreat signature. (Eating it at sunset with a glass of very cold white wine has a “rustic princess” vibe, which I obviously dig.)
Just FYI: Morandi’s version included finely chopped plum tomatoes, so if you’ve got late summer tomatoes lying around, feel free to get them involved. My relationship with whole tomatoes is touch-and-go, and I simply wasn’t in the mood when I photographed these toasts. You know how it is.
Now, before you start calling me Gwyneth behind my back for suggesting that you buy lobster to make a couple pieces of toast, hear me out. First of all, the recipe only calls for about ¼ pound of meat, which is roughly the amount in a 1½-2 pound lobster. We’re not making lobstah rolls here, people—the lobster is more of a heavy garnish than the main event. And since most large markets sell picked lobster meat in the seafood department, you don’t actually have to take a live lobby home and cook it. Unless you want to. (Who doesn’t love a good lobster race?)
All of that said, if you have zero access to lobster, or you simply don’t feel like shelling out for your avocado toast, both crabmeat and shrimp would be excellent substitutions. You do you.
I’m pushing this toast as a glorious late summer brunch/lunch or light dinner, but it easily doubles as a fabulous appetizer for any and all upcoming soirées. You can simply cut the toasts in half for a casual cocktail hour bite, but if you want to up the stakes a bit, I highly recommend going the crostini route. Just swap the thick, crusty bread for thin slices of baguette and make teeny-tiny toasts. Everyone loves fancy finger food.
I’ll be back Friday with celebratory cocktails, but until then, wish me luck. And if you can think of any synonyms for “dank,” please God let me know. I’ve got 125 extremely dank recipes to write about, and apparently Microsoft’s thesaurus is unfamiliar with the street meaning of the word. Every time it suggests “moist,” I die a little inside…
Lobster Avocado Toast: (Serves 3-4)
2 ripe medium avocados
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Fine grain sea salt
4-6 slices crusty bread of your choice (or a small baguette sliced into rounds if you’re going the crostini route)
4 ounces picked lobster meat, chopped into small pieces
½ jalapeño, very thinly sliced or finely chopped (whatever floats your boat)
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Preparing your Lobster Avocado Toast:
-Slice your avocados in half lengthwise. Remove the pits and scoop them into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and a good pinch of sea salt.
-Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and broil for 1-2 minutes per side until nice and toasty. (Yes, you can obviously use a toaster if you prefer. Do a lot of people own toasters these days? I don’t.)
- 2 ripe medium avocados
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Fine grain sea salt
- 4-6 slices crusty bread of your choice (or a small baguette sliced into rounds if you’re going the crostini route)
- 4 ounces picked lobster meat, chopped into small pieces
- 1 small jalapeño, very thinly sliced or finely chopped (whatever floats your boat)
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Slice your avocados in half lengthwise. Remove the pits and scoop them into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and a good pinch of sea salt, and mash with a fork until relatively smooth. Briefly set aside.
- Pre-heat your broiler on high, and slice your bread into pieces roughly ¾-inch thick. Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and broil for 1-2 minutes per side until nice and toasty. (Yes, you can obviously use a toaster if you prefer.)
- Spread each piece of toast with a thick layer of avocado mash. Top with lobster, then sprinkle with jalapeño and chives. Drizzle each with a teensy bit of olive oil.
If you want to finish your toast with a little extra lemon and some flaky sea salt, by all means, go ahead…
I’m thrilled to be a part of Food Network’s Summer Soirée this week. For more festive late summer recipes, check out the fabulous blogs below.
The Lemon Bowl: Lemon Garlic Chicken Kabobs
Bacon and Souffle: Roasted Shrimp Orzo
The Hungry Traveler: Ginger Vanilla Fruit Salad
Homemade Delish: Festive Champagne Punch
Dishin & Dishes: Savory Tomato, Roasted Garlic and Mozzarella Tart
Creative Culinary: Zucchini and Cream Cheese Casserole
TasteBook: Apple-Pecan Chicken Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Batter Fried Pepper with Tzatziki Sauce
Healthy Eats: 6 Fall-Forward Recipes for Your Labor Day Celebration
Taste with the Eyes: “Margarita” Salmon Burger with Tequila, Lime, and Hatch Chiles
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Grilled Shrimp & Peaches with Arugula Pesto
Red or Green: Spicy Greek Chickpea Spread
The Heritage Cook: Smoked Chicken Salad (Gluten-Free)
The Mom 100: Yogurt Berry Pops
FN Dish: The Last Hurrah: Grill Absolutely Everything on Labor Day