Savory Toast Toppings

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I really don’t think toast is given the credit it deserves. There are very few people who would include this humble breakfast item as one of their favorite foods, but let’s be honest – all of us crave for its crisp simplicity ever so often. The best thing about it, though, is its versatility. It can be paired with pretty much anything sweet, savory or spicy, serves as the perfect base for eggs and is pretty delicious even when heaped with something¬†completely unconnected, like spaghetti.

Moreover, toast doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can be spruced up with pretty much any ingredient you have lying around for a quirky appetizer or quick snack. Witness the following:

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So the other day, I decided to experiment with four humble slices of toast and I couldn’t have been happier. I played around with a bunch of savory and spicy ingredients and finally, these turned out to be my four favorite combinations. I’ve listed them below, but without specific quantities because frankly, that’s really up to you. In fact, you needn’t stop with the stuff that I’ve played around with – feel fry to go wild and top your toast with whatever the hell you want.

Savory Toast Toppings

Pear Made In Heaven

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An unorthodox, but determinedly delicious combination: crisp, juicy pear slices, coupled with soft, creamy chunks of brie, toasted pistachios and a smattering of pumpkin seed oil.

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The Olive Bar

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Not exactly an unheard of pairing, but delicious nonetheless: buttery hummus (homemade, to boot), smeared on crisp toast and then topped with chopped olives, jalapenos, red chilli flakes and dried figs for a subtle sweetness. The finishing touch? Рa light drizzle of chilli garlic oil.

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Tuck Into Tomato

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Aren’t tomatoes and cheese the best? Toast layered with sliced tomatoes and pieces of smoked mozzarella goodness is actually a little better. A heap of capers and chopped parsley add a slight bite to this combination.

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Egg N’ Mushroom

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Toast is incomplete without egg. More specifically, a beautifully fried egg with a creamy yolk. And eggs, in turn, are incomplete without slices of mushroom that have been fried in nutty brown butter and sprinkled with minced garlic and a judicious teaspoon (or more?) of pepper.

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Cottage Cheese Cutlets

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My grandmother is crazily talented in the kitchen, especially when it comes to cutlets. She makes a sort of production out of them – there will be bowls of filling, eggs and bread crumbs spread out on the table, an assembly line of cutlets at various stages of development and at least two or three chutneys to go with them. Typically, she makes potato cutlets and there is nothing better in the world than sitting in a kitchen, smelling potato cutlets frying and burning your fingers because you try and eat them too soon.

So the other day, during a particular intense cutlet craving, I decided to try some out. I haven’t ever before because I’m still freaked out by the thought of hot oil (it splashes, people), but sometimes, cravings can’t be denied. Instead of pure potato, I tried a cottage cheese blend with some common spices and it was DELICIOUS: perfectly soft and chewy on the inside, deliciously crisp on the outside with the sharp punch of ginger, chilli and pepper. Needless to say, the whole batch was decimated in one sitting.

Ingredients

250 g cottage cheese

1 large potato, boiled

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp crushed red chilli

1 tbsp finely chopped ginger

1/2 cup finely chopped corianger

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Method

Crumble the cottage cheese into a large bowl. Peel and grate the potato into this.

Add the salt, pepper, garam masala, red chilli, ginger and coriander to this and mash the whole thing up (I used my hands, because I’m a savage).

Scoop up a bit of this batter (it should be a little smaller than a golf ball) and flatten it between your palms so that it’s disc-shaped and around 3/4 of an inch thick.

Dip this raw cutlet into a bowl with the beaten egg and then in the breadcrumbs. It helps to pour the breadcrumbs onto a flat plate so you can really roll the cutlet in there and make sure’s it coated all over. More breadcrumbs = more crispiness. I like to shape and coat all the raw cutlets before the actual frying starts.

Once you have all of them ready, pour the oil into a wok and heat it up. In the meantime, line a platter with tissue – you’ll want to put your freshly-fried cutlets on to them to absorb any excess oil.

Once the oil is really hot, dip each cutlet into the wok with a slotted spoon. You can generally get away with frying them three at a time. Once you put them in, you’ll see the oil bubbling all around them and they’ll start to turn golden. You can take them out depending on your preference – a lighter shade of cutlet is generally not as crispy though, so I prefer to wait a few minutes (around 3) till it gets nicely browned.

When you’re taking out the cutlets, drain out the oil on the side of the wok and the put it onto the platter.

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These cutlets are probably best enjoyed with some sort of complicatedly spiced chutney but honestly, they taste just as good with mayonnaise and ketchup (and the occasional over-sized chilli pepper, hello hotness).

If you’re keeping them an extra day, you can also use them in sandwiches – just butter some bread, add a couple of cutlets, be generous with the ketchup and you’re good to go.