The Smash is a sandwich on a mission

The Smash

The smash, a pumpkin seed and feta cheese spread. (Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune / July 2, 2014)

Reverse engineering sounds all spy-versus-spy. So when my handlers passed along a tip about The Smash, I understood my mission: dismantle, decode, rebuild. Even though I'd never met the sandwich face to open face.

I was intrigued by avocado on toast, for breakfast. I knew afternoon avocado, lounging in guacamole, and evening avocado, hustling through gazpacho. I'd noticed midmorning avocado, keeping company with huevos rancheros.

But I'd never stumbled on avocado for breakfast.

I was out of the loop. Apparently avocado toast is rampant in Australia, common in California, and spreading.

Instagram captures it radish-dotted, bacon-flecked, egg-topped and lox-loaded.

I stuck to my mission: Deconstruct The Smash from Little Collins, the New York cafe homesick for Melbourne. I met with my source (my husband), studied documents (the website) and shook down my contact (owner Leon Unglik). I came up with a recipe that might not count as 100 percent accurate. But it makes a fine start to any spy's day.

The Smash

Prep: 15 minutes, plus 24-hour wait

Serves: 4

2 ounces

crumbled feta

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small clove garlic, finely chopped

Crushed red pepper flakes

¼ cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

2 ripe avocados

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

4 thick slices multigrain or whole-wheat bread

Flaky salt, such as Maldon

¼ cup mixed chopped fresh mint, cilantro and parsley

1. Marinate: Toss together feta, olive oil, garlic and ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cover and chill 24hours.

2. Toast: Toss pumpkin seeds into a dry cast-iron skillet. Set over medium heat and toast, stirring now and then, until seeds pop, turn brown and give off a nutty scent, about 7 minutes. Let cool.

3. Mash: Scoop feta out of its marinade; mash with a fork. Drop in avocado, pour in juice, sprinkle with kosher salt and mash with a fork, leaving some chunks.

4. Pile: Toast bread. Slather each slice with a quarter of the avocado mixture. Shake on red pepper flakes, generously. Season with flaky salt. Scatter each open-faced sandwich with 1tablespoon herbs and 1 tablespoon pepitas. Munch.

Provenance: Loosely based on The Smash from Little Collins in New York.

Featured Stories

CTnow is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on ctnow.com articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.