RECIPES: SPICY AVOCADO TARTINES | SPICY MISO VINAIGRETTE | TABASCO DRESSING
Last Saturday, Adélaïde and I went to the local Salvation Army store by Le Puy-en-Velay. We got there ten minutes before opening and there was already a crowd building up outside. You really see all kinds of people gathered there – retirees from the region, the Français de souche, but also families of recent immigrants; we hear a range of languages from Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. It’s fascinating because that’s the kind of diversity one imagines only in big cities, yet here we are in a mainly rural region.
Everyone is busy digging for treasures to be found in this giant warehouse. Strolling through the aisles you see all kinds of rustic vintage kitchenware, furniture, electronics, you name it: postwar modernist kitchens, wooden bed frames, skinny Peugeot bicycles, a Karajan record next to a Julio Iglesias record next to a 80s French pop hits record… You can be sure we never leave empty-handed.
This time we found a set of tin plates straight out of a 1950’s work site, when the workers would bring their own gamelles or lunchboxes. They are super light, resistant to heat, and come in all shapes and sizes. Perfect for that quick, no frills improvised meal. You can easily picture this at a construction site fifty years ago, full of brawny mustachioed workers, maybe Portuguese and Italian immigrants along with local Frenchmen, holding it with one hand and serving themselves with the other. They are full of little bumps, scratch marks and uneven surfaces that give them a distinct charm. Somehow they gain a new type of accidental beauty that was unconceivable when they were originally made, just to be simple and durable.
These are the plates we used to serve our avocado tartines with a couple of spicy (but very different) sauces. The miso really sizzles at the tip of your tongue and slowly takes over your palate with a tangy umami aftertaste, while the Tabasco punches in right away with full fiery flavor, and somehow you can’t help but want more. The spicy miso, or karamiso, comes from a Japanese goods store in Lyon called Satsuki. A few months ago, we were so obsessed with cooking Japanese food that we would sometimes drive all the way to Lyon and back (over 3 hours return) to urgently restock on supplies.
Spicy avocado tartines, two ways | Serves 2
- 2 ripe avocados
- a few slices of dark bread, toasted
- fleur de sel
- Toast a few slices of dark bread.
- Cut your avocados in half, remove the stone, make incisions in the flesh until you reach the skin and scoop out with a spoon. Lay the avocado slices on the bread and sprinkle with fleur de sel.
The spicy miso vinaigrette:
- 1 tbsp spicy miso sauce
- 1 tsp mirin (rice wine vinegar)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- Mix the spicy miso, mirin and brown sugar well before adding the sesame oil and finish mixing.
The Tabasco dressing:
- the juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
- 1/2-1 tsp Tabasco spicy sauce, depending on taste and heat
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Mix the lemon juice, Tabasco sauce and red wine vinegar well before adding the olive oil and finish mixing.
Serve the sauces in small separate bowls with spoons or pour directly over the avocado tartines.