City Palate

The Harvest Issue - September October 2017

7 quick ways with Avocados
July/Aug 2010

Avocados are easy to find, they’re easy to use, they’re luxuriously textured – creamy and buttery, with a rich, completely satisfying, nutty taste – they lend themselves to all kinds of preparations, and they’re good for you. There is nothing about an avocado that it not likeable.

A Haas avocado. Haas avocados are the ones with the dark green pebbly skin, the alligator pear avocado. The lighter green, larger avocados with smooth skin have less fat and lack the unctuous, buttery flavour of the Hass. They are not nearly as tasty, and since avocado fat is good fat, you can feel rather self-righteous eating it. Go for the Haas, always. Avocados also provide other good nutrients. And, lest you have forgotten, avocados are fruits although, like tomatoes, they’re treated like vegetables. Avocados are ripe when they yield slightly to a light squeeze.

1. Coleslaw with Avocado Mayonnaise Dressing

From Vancouver’s Tomato Fresh Food Café cookbook, As Fresh as it Gets. In a food processor or by hand, shred 2 c. red cabbage and 2 c. Napa cabbage. Combine in a bowl with 2 large carrots, finely julienned (or shredded), 3 celery stalks, finely julienned, and 1/2 each, red and yellow bell peppers, finely julienned. In another bowl, whisk together 1 ripe avocado, mashed, with 1/2 c. mayonnaise. Toss the dressing with the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. (We suggest squeezing enough lemon juice into the dressing to give it a little zip.) Serves 4 to 6.

2. Avocado with Crab Salad

Perfect for a light lunch with good, crusty bread or a pre-main-course salad at dinner. Halve 2 ripe avocados and rub the flesh with some lime juice to keep it from browning. Gently mix together 8 oz. claw crab meat, 2 T. mayonnaise, a good squeeze of lime or lemon juice, 2 T. each minced red onion and red bell pepper and salt and pepper to taste. If you want some heat, add some minced pickled jalapeño. Pile onto the avocado halves and garnish with minced cilantro. Serves 4.

3. Avocado and Smoked Trout Salad

From Chez Panisse Vegetables. Peel and finely chop 2 shallots and macerate them in the juice of 1/2 lemon for 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper and whisk in extra-virgin olive oil, about double the amount of shallots and lemon juice. Separate the leaves of a small head of curly endive or 2 heads of Belgian endive, tear the leaves in half, and put in a salad bowl. Pull 1/2 lb. smoked trout (Cunningham’s from Pincher Creek is best) into bite-size pieces, add it to the endive, and toss with the lemon/shallot dressing, reserving about 1 T. of dressing. Divide the salad among 4 plates. Slice 1 firm, ripe avocado thinly, lay the slices on top of the trout and endive, and drizzle the remaining dressing over the avocado slices. Finish with a sprinkle of Maldon salt, freshly ground pepper and sprigs of chervil. Serves 4.

4. Fish Tacos with Avocado Salsa

From Waitrose Food Illustrated. Preheat oven to 350°F. To make the salsa, dice 1 firm, ripe avocado, 1 red bell pepper, 2 T. pickled jalapeños and mix with 1/2 c. chunky tomato salsa. Add 1/2 small red onion, sliced, juice of 1/2 lime and 1 T. minced cilantro leaves. Set aside. Warm 8 taco shells in the oven for 5 minutes. Lightly dust 1 lb. firm white fish fillets, such as cod or halibut (salmon would be good too), with 1 t. ground cumin and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a non-stick frypan and cook the fish 2 – 3 minutes on each side, until just cooked. Break the fish up into small pieces. Fill each shell with shredded romaine lettuce leaves, top with the fish and spoon over the salsa. Finish with cilantro leaves. Serves 4.

5. Avocado and Shrimp Wraps

Cook shrimp until just curled and pink. Drain and cool enough to remove the shells. Cut into halves or thirds and pat gently with paper towels. In a bowl, whisk mayonnaise with minced chipotle chile in adobo to taste, a big squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and mix well. Lay out Tres Marias flour tortillas, the small ones, cover with arugula, spread shrimp down the middle and top with slices of firm, ripe avocado. Lightly salt and pepper the avocado and wrap the wraps. Yum. How very summer!

6. Clean Guacamole

Some people seem to think you have to jam all sorts of stuff into guacamole. We believe less is better, so this recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables is just about perfect. We call it “clean” guacamole. Scoop the flesh from 4 ripe avocados and mash it in a bowl with a fork. Add the juice of 1 lime, 3 green onions, chopped fine, and a large handful of cilantro leaves, minced. Season to taste with salt and more lime juice if desired. For a spicy guacamole, add 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced. See – clean. No tomatoes, no garlic, no cumin, no chèvre, no pine nuts, just avocado-flavoured guac.
Makes about 2 cups.

7. Not-Clean Guacamole: New Age Guacamole

From Hugh Carpenter’s delicious book, Chopstix. In a bowl, combine 1 c. mashed ripe avocado with 1/2 c. chopped water chestnuts, the kernels from 1 ear of white corn, raw, (or use canned corn), 2 T. minced green onion, 1 T. minced cilantro leaves, 1/2 t. minced garlic, 1 T. lemon juice, 1 t. chile sauce (like Sriracha) and 1/4 t. salt. Mix well. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.