Ideas for turning toast into something exciting

tosaWe’re not entirely sure what the difference is between a classic open-faced sandwich and the suddenly hip world of toast with toppings.

Then again, maybe it doesn’t much matter. A thick slab of lightly toasted good quality bread topped with delicious ingredients is an almost unbeatable comfort food no matter what you call it. Maybe it’s because it reminds us of when we were kids and Mom would make toast for breakfast or to have in bed when we were sick. Or maybe it reminds us of late night snacks in college.
Call it what you will, eat it when you will. No matter what, gussied up toast can be a great indulgence.

Humble toast doesn’t have to be so humble. Here are 10 ways to mix up your toast routine, from super simple to almost a sandwich. Having a party? Make miniature versions and serve as appetizers.

• Blue lime: Spread multigrain toast with lime marmalade, then sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese and cracked black pepper.

• Ricotta-broccoli raab: Saute chopped broccoli raab in a little olive oil until tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Spread whole-milk ricotta over toasted sourdough bread. Spoon the broccoli raab over the ricotta, then sprinkle with coarse salt and red pepper flakes.

• Cashew-sprouts: Quarter a handful of Brussels sprouts and toss with olive oil. Pan-fry in a skillet until just tender. Spread a piece of toasted pumpernickel bread with cashew butter, then top with the warm sprouts and a sprinkle of Romano cheese.

• Avocado-walnut: Top toasted herbed bread with slices of avocado. Drizzle with honey, then top with fresh chives and toasted walnuts.

• Tomato butter and salami: Stir together 1 tablespoon softened butter with 1 tablespoon tomato paste and 1 teaspoon capers. Spread over ciabatta toast, then top with shredded salami and torn fresh basil.

• Pesto chicken: Slice a baguette in half lengthwise. Spread each piece with pesto. Top each with shredded rotisserie chicken, lemon zest, and fresh mozzarella. Broil until golden and melted, 2 to 3 minutes.

• Hawaiian: Spread a toasted sweet roll or English muffin with pineapple or mango jam. Top with sliced ham, roasted red peppers and crumbled bacon.

• Dates and goat: Spread soft goat cheese over toasted multigrain bread, then drizzle with toasted pumpkin seed oil and top with chopped dates, black pepper and orange zest.

• Tarragon-beet: Stir 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon and 1 teaspoon lemon zest into 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese. Spread over toasted rye and top with thinly sliced cooked beets. Sprinkle with toasted caraway seeds.

” Anchovy and brie: Lay slices of brie over toasted brioche. Top with anchovy fillets and sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds and balsamic glaze. -AP

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