September 18, 2014 11:00 AM

Courtesy Food52

Today: Our semi-definitive guide to avocado toast makery.

Yes, we know, you don’t need someone telling you how to make avocado toast the same way you don’t need someone telling you how to eat cereal. But, as with cereal — with its many varieties and your ability to smother it with fruit or cream (you make your own rules) — when eating avocado toast, you still have some decisions to make: What kind of bread will you use? Will you slice or smash? Will you finish your toast with salt or with spices or with something else altogether? Are you jonesing for an egg? And so on.

Also, while it is a perfect food, one can tire of avocado toast. For these reasons, and because we wanted to take a bunch of really beautiful photos of avocado toast and do plenty of research on how different restaurants around our beautiful city make avocado toast so excellent that people will pay for it, well, we’ve rounded up five ways to eat an avocado smashed over some bread. Here we go.

Courtesy Food52

1. First, master the classic.

Be sure you have good bread — something dense and seedy, or chewy and sour, depending on your preference and your desire for a square — and a perfectly ripe avocado. It should give to a gentle squeeze, but not feel like mush.

The classic New York avocado toast comes from Café Gitane, and requires avocado, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper flakes. Toss together sliced avocado with olive oil and lemon juice — without mashing it into a paste — and then smash it onto toast, and top with your flakes of salt and chili. We used an exclusive sandwich spreader from Provisions to get an ultra-smooth layer of green, because we’re fussy like that, and we’re all about authenticity. It turns out to be the perfect tool for avocado toast.

Courtesy Food52

2. Do a dollop.

Remember this: Putting creamy things atop other creamy things is a good idea. As such, we recommend a dollop of Greek yogurt (or ricotta, or labneh) atop your avocado toast. At Buvette, Jody Williams has recently taken to topping avocado toast with yogurt, radishes, and cucumber, garnished with a sprig of watercress — almost like a tzatziki, deconstructed. We like the crunch of the vegetables, and the pretty little garnish of watercress. You could also try pickled vegetables, or microgreens, or yogurt laced with things like herbs and pesto and lemon juice.

Courtesy Food52

3. Add an egg — and a spread, if you’re feeling crazy.

Back in the day when we had all of our photo shoots at Amanda’s apartment, we’d sometimes order lunch from the quaint Iris Café a few blocks down. (When all you’re shooting are cakes and pies, you need something green to get you through the day.) They lay the groundwork for their avocado with a smear of Dijon mayo atop whole-grain bread, and give you the option to add an egg, because we all need to grow big and strong and we hear that protein is important.

Fried eggs are good, but soft-boiled eggs pack well, and still leave you a bit of soft yolk to mash into your green. Don’t forget a shower of pepper.

RELATED: A Model Meal: Karlie Kloss’ Avocado Flatbread

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4. Go for focaccia.

Kristen is partial to the avocado toast at Baba Cool in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, which includes a crunchy, olive oil-y slice of focaccia. (It’s like drizzling the olive oil over everything, except it’s laced into your bread instead. Get yourself a napkin.)

Try making you own focaccia, or buy a slice from your favorite bakery. Top it with some pepper flakes and cumin.

Courtesy Food52

5. Fold in some cheese — and herbs.

We recently caught wind of Food in Durham’s recipe for Avocado, Feta, and Mint on Sourdough Toast — we love how the tangy cheese and bright mint do the proverbial hokey-pokey through a sea of creamy avocado. You will do this same dance once you eat it. (You can branch out, too: Try basil or tarragon, queso fresco or manchego.)

How do you smash up your avocado onto toast? Where are your favorite places to eat it? Tell us in the comments!

This article was originally published on Food52, a site that brings cooks together to share recipes, ideas and support.
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—Marian Bull

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