Today was one of the best Saturdays I have had in ages. Two of my dear friends came and picked me up, brought me a piping hot soy latte, and took me to a new market I have been anxious to check out in Saint Petersburg. This amazing place is none other than Locale Market. A food lover’s dream, Locale Market is the brain child of Chef Michael Mina and Chef Don Pintabona. Locale is like Disneyland for food lovers, as you will find everything from fresh local seafood, produce, cheese, wine, desserts, coffee, sushi and more. You can shop, eat, and enjoy a glass of wine all while relaxing in a culinary paradise.
While browsing in the produce section, a beautiful display of heirloom tomatoes caught my eye and I suddenly remembered a recipe I had pinned on Pinterest for Avocado + Heirloom Tomato Toast with Balsamic Drizzle and decided to take some home and recreate the recipe.
I bought lots of goodies at Locale including a freshly baked baguette, truffle butter, pasta, produce and a few craft beers to try during the NFL playoffs. As soon as I walked in my front door, I headed straight to the kitchen and began to prepare my pre-game appetizers. Simple, elegant and beyond delicious, these beautiful crostini can be whipped up in less than thirty minutes and will knock the socks off your guests. For this recipe, all you need is a nice baguette, an avocado, heirloom tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I began by preparing my balsamic reduction. If you have never done this before, no need to worry, as it is simple. To this day I can never understand why people would rather buy a bottle of balsamic glaze when they could just make their own. Anyway, simply take 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and whisk often while it simmers for about 15-20 minutes. Like garlic, you have to be careful that is doesn’t burn. Before you know it, the balsamic reduces by half and is nice and thick.
Next, slice your bread into 3/4 inch slices, brush with olive oil and toast in the oven. While the bread is toasting, slice up the tomatoes and avocados so that you can place them on your toast points. When the bread is done, place an avocado slice on each piece and mash with the back of a fork. Top with the tomato slices and basil, drizzle with balsamic glaze and then top with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. Magnifico!
Enjoy these tasty little bites with a nice glass of wine and leave your worries behind you!
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 4-5 slices of a nice baguette or bread of your choice
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 small heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
- ½ a ripe avocado
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- sea salt
- black pepper
- Make your balsamic reduction by heating balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the balsamic to a boil while whisking continuously. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the balsamic has reduced by half and is nice and thick. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Slice your baguette (or bread of choice) into 3/4 in slices, brush with olive oil and toast in the oven until golden brown.
- Slice your avocado and tomatoes. Place an avocado wedge on each bread slice and smash with a fork to evenly spread the avocado on the toast points. Layer the sliced tomatoes on each piece of bread, top with basil and then drizzle with the balsamic reduction.
- Top with sea salt and black pepper. Enjoy!