Keen to add some variety to your breakfast routine? So was Calla Pyrmont’s head chef Max Bean when he started fermenting chilli and other vegetables in his cafe and at home.

“The fermentation process [using lactose limitation] is as simple or as complex as you want to make it,” he says. “You can use mushrooms, cucumbers – almost anything.”

For this recipe – an Italian twist on that Aussie fave, avo on toast – Bean chose ingredients that would add Mediterranean flavours (including Kumato tomatoes, a robust variety developed in Spain).

“It’s almost like a modern bruschetta, and it’s a very similar dish to one we offered when we launched the cafe,” he says. “As a base, we’ve got the avocado on toast, then chopped Kumato tomatoes and prosciutto. [The] fermented chilli, lemon vinaigrette and fresh basil gives the dish a couple of elements you might not usually see.”

Bean says the dish is a great start to the day, but its simplicity means it can be enjoyed for lunch or as a snack – similar to many Italian foods.

“My partner is half Italian, so that steered me in the direction of the flavours I chose here,” he says. “Mostly, I just love Italian food – the flavours, the simplicity and the focus on quality ingredients.”

This dish takes a little preparation, but once you start making fermented chilli and ricotta at home, your cooking repertoire will expand.

Italian-inspired avocado toast with fermented chilli and fresh ricotta
Makes 1 serving
Preparation time: 1 hour 30 mins

Fermented chilli
100g red chilli
2g table salt

Fresh ricotta
1L full-fat milk
200ml pouring cream
50ml lemon juice
1 tsp salt

To serve
3–4 Kumato tomatoes
½ avocado
2–3 tbsp fresh ricotta
4 slices prosciutto san daniele
1–2 tsp fermented chilli
6 leaves fresh basil
Olive oil

Fermented chilli

Remove the top of the chilli and blend coarsely.

Mix with table salt and place in a mason jar for 7–8 days in a warm spot in your house. You will know the mix is fermenting if it starts to bubble after a few days.

Open the lid to allow the built-up gas to escape every few days.

Fresh ricotta
Fill a medium saucepan with water to about one fingertip deep – this prevents the milk from scalding. Combine milk with cream and add to pan, then add lemon juice and stir gently to combine.

Heat slowly on a low heat without stirring or disturbing the pot until it reaches 92 degrees on a thermometer.

Once the curds have formed, remove the pan from heat and stand for 10 minutes to allow curds to settle.

Carefully scoop out the curds with a spoon and place in a large ricotta basket or a muslin-lined colander. Stand the basket over the saucepan for 15 minutes to drain excess whey.

To serve
Roughly dice three Kumato tomatoes and half an avocado. Add chilli to taste and mix in a small bowl with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Toast a thick slice of sourdough and generously cover with fresh ricotta. Place the tomato, avocado and chilli mix on top of the toast.

Arrange prosciutto on top of the tomato mix, garnish with fresh basil and enjoy.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Perfection Fresh.