04/8 2015

I heart avocados!

Last week, I wrote about my inability to feel the love for kale. I have the opposite relationship with avocados. It was love at first bite.

When are avocados in season?

While California’s peak season for avocados is February – September, we get a year-round supply of this fruit, thanks to our friends in Mexico. There are many varieties of the fruit, but Haas is the most common.

If you were hoping to plant your own avocado tree as I once was, you might have to think again. In fact, around the world, avocados are grown in warm climates between 45° North and 60° South latitude.

How should you eat them?

There are a number of ways to eat avocados; by themselves, in guacamole, salads and smoothies, on sandwiches or as a spread.  One of my all-time favorites is avocado toast, made simply fabulous by Java in Boise.

Why should you eat them?

Like kale, avocados increased in popularity due to its classification as a super food. What does that mean?

They’re super because…

Avocados are loaded with a variety of vitamins. Most notably, they contain more potassium than bananas. Another big bonus? They are a great source of fiber.

And for those of you who steer clear due to the fruit’s high fat content, have no fear. The fat is monounsaturated and can actually help prevent heart disease.

I like ‘em in…..

I like almost any food that has avocados in or near it.  Follows are a few of my very favorites:

Sweet-crusted grilled bluefish with avocado-corn vinaigrette. The original recipe is credited to Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, authors of License to Grill. Since we don’t get too much bluefish on the West coast, I generally substitute swordfish. Also recommended: mahi mahi, striped bass or mackerel.

Another great dish for summer is grilled chicken salad, a recipe I found in Cuisine at Home. Without even needing a recipe, it’s grilled chicken, fennel, asparagus and potatoes, piled on top of one another, with an avocado hollandaise sauce to add a nice icing on the cake.

Chicken with watercress salad and guacamole is a Jamie Oliver favorite.

Avocado gazpacho, the prized dish we all tasted one summer at Ciro in Sun Valley. Sadly, the restaurant is now closed and we have only done minor justice in trying to recreate the recipe (below, if interested).

The two don’t like ‘ems

The two times I have tried to cook avocados, I didn’t particularly like the results. Perhaps heating them isn’t my thing – you may have a different experience.

I (as well as a friend of mine) tried this recipe and it simply didn’t work. The egg wouldn’t cook properly and the avocado tasted like rubber (I’m not picking on Pop Sugar as the same recipe appears on lots of different sites).

The other dish I didn’t particularly like was avocado fries. I loosely followed this recipe and simply didn’t like the texture or flavor. My son, however, ate my half and wants me to try again.

 Avocado Gazpacho

Ingredients

  • 1-2 Avocados (more if you like creamy, less if you like a more cucumber taste)
  • 1 1/2 limes
  • 3 scallions
  • 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth (more if you prefer a more liquid consistency)
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and loosely chopped
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • A few drops of Tobasco sauce

Blend all ingredients in a food processor and chill. Garnish as desired with sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro, shrimp, etc.

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