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Recipe: Toast — it’s what’s for dinner

Food trends come and go, but “stuff on toast” is forever. Even in its purest form, golden-brown crisp bread — smeared with nothing more than some butter and sprinkled with salt — is a luxurious, timeless treat. But “toast is good!” is not news.

Dinner toast, though, should be. It is quite possibly the perfect summer food. Compared with other carby delights, toast is undeniably lighter than a sandwich and requires significantly less time to make than pasta (both important for summer food consumption). It has crunchy texture for days, and you can effortlessly eat it with one hand (neither can be said for most sandwiches or pasta).

Avocado is clearly the most famous topping in the toast community (yes, we are somehow still talking about avocado toast), but it is the hyper seasonal, very juicy, almost-too-ripe-to-slice tomato that deserves to be first in line as a topping for dinner toast.

Tomatoes truly have it all: mild sweetness, pronounced acidity and, when sliced, a saucy texture that complements the toast by sinking into the tender parts and gently softening the very crunchy bits. Do I love it because this combination reminds me of pizza? Maybe.

Stopping at tomatoes might suggest breakfast or a very petite lunch, and we are shooting for dinner, so let’s add more. Topping that perfect tomato toast with something like shrimp — cooked in a skillet with slivers of toasted garlic and a bit of white wine — would be my move, because I am forever seeking ways to eat more of my favorite summer foods (shrimp scampi and pan con tomate) at the same time.

Since I’m using a skillet and because I keep my toaster in a cabinet, it makes sense for me to make the toast in the skillet, too (preshrimp, of course). Even if your toaster lives on the countertop, I recommend this, because bread, when toasted in a skillet full of olive oil, becomes shatteringly crisp and evenly golden brown in a way your toaster could never deliver.

After I’ve crowned the perfectly toasted bread with the garlicky shrimp and ruby red tomatoes, I pour the buttery white wine sauce over the whole thing. Honestly, I can’t think of anything I’d rather have dressing my tomatoes or soaking into my toast, mostly because of the way it sinks into the bread, reminding me of the custardy center in a pan of stuffing.

Since this is dinner toast, you can pick it up with one hand or tackle it with a knife and fork for a more civilized eating experience. Either way, it’s toast. And toast is good.

TOMATO TOAST WITH BUTTERED SHRIMP

By Alison Roman

  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup parsley or cilantro, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more as needed
  • 4 slices bread from a French boule or country loaf, about 3/4- to 1-inch thick
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, quartered

Finely chop 2 cloves of garlic and add to a small bowl with parsley; season with salt and pepper and set aside. Thinly slice remaining 4 garlic cloves; set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add bread and toast until golden brown on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn bread, adding another drizzle of olive oil as needed and toast on the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large serving platter and set aside.

Heat butter and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in the same skillet. Add garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, swirling skillet occasionally, until the butter starts to brown and the garlic is golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until shrimp are bright pink and just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Add white wine, if using, and let cook for a minute or two, just to take the edge off the wine (don’t reduce so much that you lose that sauciness, though). Remove pan from heat.

Place tomatoes on top of toast and sprinkle with half of the parsley-garlic mixture. Spoon shrimp and any buttery sauce in the skillet over the tomatoes and toast. Finish with remaining parsley-garlic mixture and serve with lemon wedges alongside. Serves 4.

Nutritional information unavailable.

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