Pan con Aguacate (Avocado-Topped Bread), a Dominican snack that is simple and filling, and well ahead of the avocado toast craze of these days.
Avocado sandwiches or pan con aguacate is a simple traditional Dominican snack. The classic version is made with a pan de agua (the ubiquitous Dominican bread roll) sliced in half and filled with scoops or slices of avocado.
Pan con aguacate can be a very humble snack, often enjoyed by people from the poorest sectors of society. I mentioned in a previous entry that avocado --an exotic delicacy sold at fancy prices in other parts of the world-- is a very inexpensive food in season in the Dominican Republic. Many people have access to an avocado tree and don’t have to pay a chele. I have been told that health workers in very poor communities observe that children’s nutritional levels show a marked improvement when foods that are freely available, such as avocados, are in season.
Whether you are rich or poor or something in between, pan con aguacate is one of the easiest snacks you can rustle up when there is not much else available, or you are too tired or uninspired to make a meal. The avocado’s nutritional qualities combined with the bread mean that few people remain unsatisfied after indulging, so to speak.
Despite this, pan con aguacate is looked down on by some people. This could be due to its humble associations but I also suspect this happens because there is simply no dignified way to eat it. The avocado will always squelch out of the sides of the sandwich and adheres itself to your paws and chin.
About this recipe
There are varying schools of thought: some mash the avocado onto the bread with a fork, others leave the chunks intact and just squeeze it all together. Many people may find avocado and bread a little bland on their own so how about adding some salt, or a squeeze of lemon? A dash of chili sauce even? Some onions, if you have no plans for the rest of the evening?
That’s the beauty of it. Every person has his or her own particular version. There are probably as many "recipes" for pan con aguacate as there are Dominicans!
But worry not, help is at hand. Aunt Clara says she has devised a system where pan con aguacate can be eaten in a genteel manner in the politest company. Could this be the next big thing to hit the gourmet bistros of the world’s most elegant capitals? I’ll leave it to her to provide you with the details...
Pan con Aguacate Recipe (Avocado-Topped Bread)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- 1 small red onion, minced
- ½ red bell pepper, minced
- 1 tablespoon of apple vinegar, or Juice of a lime
- 3 panes de agua, cut into halves, or 1 mini-baguettes cut into thirds
- 1 large avocado, or 2 medium avocados
- ¾ teaspoon of salt, (or more, to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon of pepper, (or more, to taste)
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
- Cooking the onions: Heat half the oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook stirring until onion becomes translucentPour in vinegar and cook until the onion becomes pink. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Toasting the bread: Slice the bread. Brush the bread with the remaining olive oil. Heat a cooktop grill and toast on both sides, pressing it to flatten it.Cool to room temperature.
- Cutting the avocado: Peel and remove the pit. Cut into halves and slice very thinly.
- Assembling: Place the avocado slices onto the bread toastsTop the bread with the onion mix. . Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cilantro.
- Serving and storing: Serve right away. If you wish to make it beforehand, make the onion relish and toast bread and keep them at room temperature. Cut avocado and assemble right before serving.