Toast Four Ways

A quartet of delectable recipes from chef Troy Guard of Tag Restaurant Group.

Photo by Cassandra Stiltner

Fresh Gulf Crab Toast

3 oz. mayonnaise
1 oz. crème fraiche
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 oz. ketchup
½ tsp. Worcestershire
½ tsp. cognac
1/8 tsp. paprika
4 oz. fresh lump crab
½ avocado
1 oz. cherry tomato
2 Tbsp. butter
1 slice brioche
1 hardboiled egg, sliced
5 tarragon leaves
3 celery leaf leaves
1 chive, cut into 1/8-inch batons
Pinch Hawaiian lava salt

Mix mayonnaise, crème fraiche, lemon juice, ketchup, Worcestershire, cognac, and paprika in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Softly fold in crab, taking care not to break up the meat. Cut the avocado into ¼ inch cubes. Slice each cherry tomato across diameter into 5 slices. Heat butter in sauté pan until melted and foamy. Toast brioche in pan until both sides are golden brown. To plate, spread crab mixture evenly across toast. Arrange avocado, tomato, and hardboiled egg atop crab mixture. Garnish top with the herb leaves and chives, and finish with a sprinkle of the lava salt.

Black Mission Fig Toast

2 Tbsp. butter
3 small cippolini onions
3 oz. burrata
1.5 oz. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Black Mission figs, quartered
1 oz. aged sherry vinegar
1-2 leaves frisée (yellow pieces only)
1 piece carta di musica
1.5 oz. prosciutto
1 chive, brunoised
Black pepper to taste

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In a sauté pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, thinly slice onion into long strands. Add onion to melted butter, gently stirring with spatula every 2-3 minutes until soft and brown throughout (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside. Marinate burrata with ¾ oz. olive oil and ½ Tbsp. salt. Marinate figs with sherry vinegar. Toss frisée in remaining olive oil and salt. To plate, spread burrata evenly across carta di musica. Lay onion on top of burrata evenly. Arrange prosciutto around toast, leaving some areas with burrata exposed. Arrange figs nicely around the toast. Garnish figs with small pieces of frisée. Sprinkle chives on top and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of black pepper.

Hawaiian-Style Niçois

½ oz. salt
3 green beans
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
½ tsp. sesame oil
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 oz. hearts of palm
1 scallion
3 heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 piece flax seed bread
½ avocado
Juice of ½ lime
4 oz. sushi-grade ahi tuna
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. Shichimi Togarashi pepper mix
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
5 cilantro leaves

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a medium pan and season with ¼ oz. salt. Trim ends off green beans and blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute until tender and bright green. Remove from hot water and cool in a bowl of ice and water. Cut on a bias and reserve for garnish. Mix soy sauce, balsamic, ginger, sesame oil, and Dijon in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Cut hearts of palm into 1/16-inch-thick rounds. Cut scallion on 1/8-inch bias and place in ice water to curl. Cut tomatoes into quarters. Toast bread under broiler on high until golden brown. Season avocado with small pinch of salt and lime juice. Smash avocado with a fork. Toss tuna in canola oil, remaining salt, and Shichimi Togarashi in a mixing bowl. Sear in a sauté pan over high heat until lightly browned on one side (about 10 seconds). Remove from heat, leaving one side rare. Toss tuna in half of the soy vinaigrette. Reserve other half for another use. To plate, spread smashed avocado evenly across toasted flax bread. Top avocado with seared tuna and soy mix. Garnish top with hearts of palm, green beans, cherry tomatoes, sesame seeds, and cilantro.

Roasted Butternut Squash Toast

4 Tbsp. butter, softened
½ butternut squash
Juice of 1 lemon
1 oz. kosher salt
2 oz. ricotta
1 oz. heavy cream
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground clove
½ cup honey
1 oz. pumpkin seeds
1 slice Boston brown bread
2 oz. olive oil
5 baby arugula leaves
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Spread 2 Tbsp. butter on squash and roast, cut side up, at 350° F until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow squash to cool for 30 minutes, then purée in a food processor, seasoning with lemon juice and salt to taste. Reserve. In a large bowl, mix ricotta and cream until incorporated and season to taste with salt. Reserve. Toast ground spices on medium heat in a sauté pan until fragrant, constantly moving them in the pan (about 30 seconds). Mix spices with honey and reserve. Brown remaining butter in a pan over medium heat. Add pumpkin seeds and a pinch of salt and toss to coat. Bake at 350° F for 5 to 7 minutes until evenly toasted. Cool and reserve. Turn oven to high broil and toast the bread until crisp on each side. Whisk remaining lemon juice, remaining salt, and olive oil in bowl until combined. Use 1 Tbsp. of the lemon juice and olive oil mixture to dress the arugula leaves, and reserve the rest. To plate, spread squash purée on toast. Spread ricotta on top of squash purée, leaving some squash exposed at edges. Evenly distribute the pumpkin seeds on top of ricotta. Drizzle half of the honey and spice mixture on toast, reserving second half for another use. Drizzle remaining lemon juice and olive oil mixture on top of honey, and garnish with arugula leaves and a pinch of black pepper.