Avocado Toasts with Charred Tomatoes, Garlic Shrimp and Fried Eggs
I am very excited to inform you that my roommate and I will be camping in Maryland’s Assateague State Park this weekend. Weirdly, many people (including close friends) seem to be shocked by my Memorial Day plans, which I find offensive. It’s as if my purchase of ugly hiking boots and the multiple weeks I’ve spent in the wilderness with Logan over the past three years have meant nothing. WTF, you guys?
I’m sure some of you assume that I only camp for Logan’s sake. (You know, because I do lots of nice things for him.) That was definitely true in the beginning, but I’ve actually grown to like camping, and honestly, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Plus, it’s peaceful, and it’s the only time I feel comfortable wearing flannel, which is a surprisingly comfortable fabric.
I AM OUTDOORSY NOW. Fact.
Now that we’ve all accepted my outdoorsiness, I’ll admit to having a few anxieties surrounding this particular camping adventure. First, Assateague is known for its wild horse population. According to the park lady I spoke with, these creatures often roam the campgrounds, so we need to be vigilant about storing food in our locked “vehicle” and not in the tent. (I love calling cars “vehicles.” So serious.) Based on my feelings about animals in general, I was not psyched about this information, and I will be having a very frank discussion with my roommate this evening about how things will go down if we experience a wild horse attack (i.e. he will need to sacrifice himself). For the record, the park lady did not think it was funny when I “jokingly” asked if bear spray was an effective method of keeping the horses away from me.
Second, alcohol is prohibited in all Maryland State Parks. When park lady casually informed me of this fact, I almost passed out. I know that sounds slightly melodramatic, but alcohol is a necessity when one is sleeping on the ground, forming unintentional dreadlocks, and potentially fighting off wild horses. Needless to say, I called Logan to make sure he was aware of this madness, and he assured me that he wasn’t worried, and he doesn’t think the rule will be enforced as long as we’re discreet. All I can say is, he better be right.
Just in case, I’m packing a bag of boozy shot bites (aka jello shots) in the cooler, which I will pass off as “electrolyte gels” if questioned by the authorities. (More on those gelatinous bad boys tomorrow.)
The final anxiety-inducing factor of this trip is the fact that two friends are coming with us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to spend quality time with them, but I’ve never camped with anyone other than Logan and we’ve kind of perfected our system. If we’re being honest, I’m mostly afraid they’re going to judge our division of labor. To an outsider it probably seems like I just sit at a picnic table playing with my JetBoil and drinking cocktails while Logan does all the hard work (pitching the tent, carrying the cooler, building a fire, etc.).
That is a misconception.
Being official camp chef is a huge responsibility (probably the most important of all the camping responsibilities), and it’s one that I take very seriously. I like to get creative with our meals, and although having one burner cramps my style, I’m proud to say that I’ve pulled off some pretty kickass “rustic creations” over the past few years. In fact, my food gets fancier with every camping trip (as evidenced by the upgrade from 2012’s chicken fajitas to 2013’s campfire chicken packets), and I have high expectations for myself this weekend.
I fully intended on doing a camping-themed recipe for you today, but that didn’t work out as planned. I happened to be enjoying a glorious lunch of avocado toast while brainstorming camp meals, and I suddenly thought, SCREW IT. This avocado toast is the tits, and it needs to be shared immediately. And that, friends, is why you are looking at Avocado Toasts with Charred Tomatoes, Garlic Shrimp and Fried Eggs instead of some sort of gourmet hot dog situation.
This may be the most epic version of avocado toast ever. (And I say that with authority because I eat some version of avocado toast at least four times a week.) A good piece of grilled bread topped with creamy avocado is heavenly, but add charred tomatoes, quickly sautéed garlicky shrimp with lemon and herbs, a perfectly cooked fried egg, and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan? FLAVOR BOMB. I mean, this is the avocado toast of your wildest dreams, people.
Don’t even get me started on what happens when everything gets doused in the egg yolk. Dear God.
I know you’re going to think this is a lot of effort for avocado toast, but bear with me. With a little organization, you can pull this thing off in about 20 minutes, and it is worth every single second. Plus, these toasts can be eaten any time of day, and they’re definitely impressive enough to serve to guests. I’m imagining them at an outdoor summer brunch with a bottle of light rosé. Yes? Yes.
Now that I think about it, I could totally make this avocado toast while camping, and I just might. Sure, it will take me a couple extra minutes with only one pan and a camp stove, but let’s be real, I’ve got nothing but time out in the “wild.” Plus, we’re right by the beach. Perhaps Logan can play Naked and Afraid and catch the shrimp himself…
Avocado Toasts with Charred Tomatoes, Garlic Shrimp and Fried Eggs: (Serves 2)
1 ripe avocado
1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cocktail tomatoes, halved
Freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
2 slices of your favorite rustic bread (I prefer a good seeded country loaf, but you do you.)
Shaved Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
For the garlic shrimp:
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound uncooked wild shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
Preparing your Avocado Toasts with Charred Tomatoes, Garlic Shrimp and Fried Eggs:
-Cut the avocado in half lengthwise. Remove and the pit and discard. Scoop the avocado from its skin and place it in a small bowl. Mash the avocado with 1½ teaspoons lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. Season with salt to taste. Press plastic wrap to the surface of your avocado to keep it from browning, and briefly set aside.
-Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan. When hot, add the shrimp and cook for two minutes on the first side. Add the garlic to the pan and flip the shrimp Cook for 2 minutes more until the shrimp have turned pink and opaque. (Be careful not to burn the garlic!)
-Remove the shrimp from the pan and place them in a bowl. Keep the pan on the heat and add the lemon juice. Cook for about 15 seconds, scraping up the garlic and any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
-Now it’s time to fry the eggs. Heat a medium pan over medium heat (you can just wipe out the one from the tomatoes). Add a little olive oil or butter to the pan if it’s not non-stick. Add the eggs to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until the whites are just set and the yolks are still runny.
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