1. Avocados Love Breakfast
Avocados get on great with all things breakfast. One of my favorite healthy morning meals is toasted whole-grain bread topped with thinly sliced avocado, scrambled eggs, basil and shaved radish. A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil provides the finishing touch. You could change things up with smoked salmon and crème fraîche or maybe use a fried egg and tomatoes instead. Sliced fresh chile is also a good friend of the avocado.
2. Avocado Quesadillas
David Tanis shares his recipe for Avocado Quesadillas, a quick, last-minute appetizer, in A Platter of Figs. Ripe but firm avocados are thinly sliced and laid upon a flour tortilla, topped with mozzarella slices. What makes takes this recipe from simple to spectacular is David Tanis’ Onion Relish spooned over the quesadilla before adding the top tortilla. A mixture of finely diced sweet onions, minced jalapeño, cilantro, and epazote leaves. According to Herbs & Spices, the pungent Mexican herb, epazote, was a mainstay of Mayan cooking. The intensely flavored epazote is a combination of flavors: citrus notes, bitterness, and funk. Find epazote in Latino groceries. Serve Avocado Quesadillas with beer as an appetizer. They also make a nice lunch for one.
3. Avocado With Dark, Bitter Greens
The buttery-textured, nutty-flavored avocado is a fitting match for sturdy, slightly bitter greens in a salad. Melissa Clark tosses cubed avocado and spinach with a garlicky-mustard dressing in her book, In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite. I’m obsessed with this recipe from the Not Without Salt blog, in which Ashley Rodriguez pairs avocado with cilantro, jalapeño, and lime-marinated kale, then serves the salad atop a tostada (crisp-baked tortilla) with black beans and Cotija cheese. Other ingredients that go well with avocado in a salad include: fennel, watercress, fresh herbs, berries, or arugula. Bitter chicories such as endive, radicchio, and curly endive provide a crisp contrast to creamy avocado in a salad.
4. Avocado Ice Cream
For this recipe, I turn to the bible of ice cream-making, The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz. Avocado Ice Cream may seem strange, but this fruit lends a luscious, buttery flavor to everybody’s childhood favorite. David Lebovitz’s recipe is so quick and simple. Puree avocado with sugar, sour cream, heavy cream, lime juice, and a pinch of salt in a blender. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and wait. Why not shake things up a bit and try something new?
On a hot summer day, I will happily go for ceviche, preferably on a sunny patio with a mojito. Ceviche is the Latin American dish of raw fish or shellfish marinated in citrus juice to “cook” it. This technique is to be used on only the freshest, sashimi-quality fish- halibut, marlin, snapper, or albacore tuna are popular. Rick Bayless includes a whole chapter on ceviche in his book, Fiesta at Rick’s, with several recipes to try (like Salt-and-Pepper Ceviche). I’m a fan of the creamy, rich texture and flavor of cubed avocado in my ceviche, and enjoy how it balances the other flavors of acidic, floral lime juice, pungent red onion, bright cilantro, and sweet sea-fish. My favorite ceviche is made with bay scallops, like this Scallop Ceviche by Martha Stewart.
6. Avocado Soup
This recipe for Chilled Avocado Soup from Martha Stewart is refreshing and doesn’t involve any actual cooking, so it’s perfect for a hot summer day when the last thing you want is to be in an even hotter kitchen. Purée cucumber, avocado, and garlic with buttermilk and lemon juice then chill in the fridge before serving. Cucumber adds fresh flavor while the buttermilk and lemon juice balance tangy acidity against the creamy avocado. This recipe from Bon Appétit adds fresh mint and a kick of spice with Serrano chile.
7. Avocado and Hearty Grains
There’s something really satisfying and healthy about the combination of creamy avocado chunks and nutty grains. Yotam Ottolenghi makes the connection in Plenty, with a recipe for Avocado, Quinoa, and Fava Bean Salad that’s perfect for this moment at the farmer’s market. Quinoa, a protein-rich “grain” (not a real grain, but cooked like one) is prepared and tossed in a salad of lemon supremes, basil, radish, fava bean, and avocado. Cumin and red pepper flakes provide seasoning, and olive oil lubricates the salad. For other variations, try a grain salad made with brown rice or wheat berries. Use whatever vegetables are available at the farmer’s market and bind it all together with a lemon or lime vinaigrette.
8. Salmorejo with Prawns, Tomato, and Avocado
Salmorejo is a gazpacho thickened with day-old bread. This chilled soup of Córdoba (a province of Andalucía in Spain) consists of pureed tomatoes flavored with garlic and sherry vinegar. Traditionally, the bright and zippy gazpacho is garnished with chopped hard boiled eggs and serrano ham. In the Moro East cookbook, the Clarks use Salmorejo as a sauce to pour over avocado slices and cooked prawns. The dish is rustic and colorful, with contrast from the green avocado and bright orange gazpacho. It’s an easy, breezy summertime starter to enjoy outside with a glass of Cava. Check out José Andrés recipe for Salmorejo and video demo here.
9. Seared Scallops and Avocado
This recipe for Scallop, Mango, and Avocado Salad from Williams-Sonoma holds a permanent place in my recipe box. I pull it out for special occasions, or when I’m trying to impress. There is something about seared scallops -sweet, succulent flesh and caramelized exterior- which makes for an elegant meal. This recipe is vibrant, with pops of yellow mango against red and green salad leaves. The creamy, nutty avocado pairs beautifully with tropical fruit and ocean-flavored scallop. A spicy jalapeño-lime vinaigrette is bold enough to ensure this is a meal you won’t soon forget.
It’s nothing new, but Guacamole had to be included in this list. We’ve all eaten it, and most of us have made it, but let’s get in touch with the roots of this avocado dip here, now, today. For wisdom and guidance I turn to Diana Kennedy, author of The Essential Cuisines of Mexico. She writes that Guacamole should be served in the molcajete (lava stone mortar and pestle) in which it was made. Her recipe begins by making a paste of diced onion, Serrano chiles, cilantro, and salt in the molcajete. Add chunks of avocado and mash into a chunky purée- not smooth. Stir in finely chopped tomato and garnish with extra cilantro and onion. Diana Kennedy believes that the pleasure of Guacamole lies in its freshness, so it must be served immediately, at room temperature, and never stored for later. For a similar recipe, check out this step-by-step guacamole tutorial at Saveur.
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