Deconstructed Bagel and Lox Salad Recipe

Photos by Sarah Elliott

I accept with gratitude the privilege of growing older, so I don’t want to complain about it.  But.  Every 5 years or so, I get away with less and less with respect to what I can eat.  Sure, I could exercise more.  But I’m kind of busy and I already exercise a healthy amount.  One of those foods that is over for me is the bagel.

Bagels are nothing anyone really needs in his or her life.  They are completely devoid of nutrition and loaded with simple carbohydrates (and I mean loaded) which turn into sugar lickety split (and then the pro-inflammatory hormone insulin surges and fat gets stored.)  Even if I were to exercise like a maniac to burn off so many carbs, there’s the fact that I don’t feel great after eating a bagel.

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Avocado Toast

perfect avocado toast | pamela salzman

A perfect avocado completes me.  I have a mild obsession with them.  If you gave me a choice between mashed avocado on a piece of toast or an ice cream sandwich, I honestly wouldn’t even think twice about it!  I am more addicted to avocados than I ever was to sugar.  Hmmm, ok maybe not completely true.  But I have a healthier relationship with avocados.  Right now is my favorite time of year, because I’ve got all my besties — tomatoes, peaches, figs, corn, basil and Reed avocados.  What’s a Reed avocado?  If you don’t know the answer, I already feel sorry for you that you haven’t experienced the mother of all avocados.  In my humble opinion, Reeds are TOPS, at least in this country.  My mother-in-law often reminisces about avocados from her native Puerto Rico and I have a student from Mexico who thinks that hers are the best.  I think they’re both just feeling nostalgic, because I don’t know how you can beat a Reed.

amazing Reed avocados

Just look at them!  They’re as big as softballs with a generous ratio of meat to pit and soooooooo creamy and rich.  Sinful!  But they’re not, because avocados are amazingly good for you.  Perfect, untouched, non-oxidized, healthful fats, plus fiber and loads of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.  Avocados are an incredible food for little ones whose brains are developing.  And I think they’re an awesome beauty food — so great for your skin.  Also, this happens to be a drying time of year, especially for the lungs and wouldn’t you know avocados are lubricating to the lungs, as well as to the intestines.  Love it.

How to Cut an Avocado


How to scoop an avocado from its shell

I have so many recipes on my site which use avocados, from salads to dressings to soups to smoothies.  But my favorite way to eat an avocado is on toast.  The contrast between soft and buttery avocado and crunchy toast makes me swoon.  Ditch your Saturday morning bagel and cream cheese and go this route on a good whole grain bread.  Delicious and so much better for you!  There are lots of ways I prepare avocado toast and I posted a few images here.  Most of the time, I eat this for breakfast either on spelt or millet toast.  But it’s also the perfect afternoon snack for you or your kids.  The fat in avocados really keeps you satisfied for so much longer than a popsicle or a bags of chips.  Not that you eat that, but if you did, avocado toast is a way better snack.  Right now, I’m buying Reeds at the farmers market 3 for $5 and I have also seen them in Whole Foods for $2.50 each.  I’ve been suckered by some markets with their $.69 avocados, and 90% of the time, they’re horrible.  That feeling of slicing into an avocado that looks like it should be good and then isn’t is THE WORST!

Avocado with Wild Smoked Salmon

My advice to you is buy your avocados underripe and allow them to ripen on the countertop.  If you try to buy them already ripe at the store, they’ve been squeezed a thousand times and that’s why they’ll have mushy brown spots when you open them.  Avocados are ripe when they give slightly to gentle pressure.  I have also found that when you remove the small dark stem from the top, if the color underneath is pale yellow, it’s ready!  Green means it’s underripe and brown or black means it’s going in the compost heap.  Once they are ripe, you can refrigerate them until you’re ready to eat them.  Keep in mind that the skin of Reed avocados stay perfectly green even when ripe, as opposed to Haas which turn dark brown/black.  And now the bad news.  Reed avocados are only in season from August through October so enjoy them while you can!

Avocado Toast with Tomato

Are you an avocado toast fan?  What’s your favorite combo?

avocado toast

There really isn’t a “recipe” for this, just a few of my favorite combinations.  I like a lot of avocado on my toast, but you may choose to have less.  Just go with whatever seems right to you.

Mashed or sliced avocado  on toasted or grilled bread with:

~a squeeze of lime, a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of red chili flakes and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

~thinly sliced smoked wild salmon or lox and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

~sliced ripe tomato with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt.  A drizzle of olive oil is good, too.

~a drop of shoyu or good quality soy sauce, a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and a sprinkle of sesame seeds or gomasio.

~a fried egg and a pinch of salt.  A sprinkle of chopped chives is nice, too.