Everybody knows how to make guacamole, right? Sure you do. Mash up a ripe avocado, squeeze some lime juice, season with salt and pepper and maybe toss in some cilantro, chopped tomatoes, jalapeno (seed the thing unless you want to cry), and diced shallots or red onion… Voila, guacamole. Easy breezy. Never buy that pre-made nonsense in the deli aisle (yuck!).
I’m confident you also all know about cutting an avocado in half, taking out the seed and filling in the remaining hole with crab salad or chicken salad or tuna salad even. It’s very ladies who lunch (in the ’80s). You know what I’m talking about so let’s move on.
Avocado, the creamy fruit, is fabulous to tie in all that fancy produce you think is pretty at the market but have no idea what to do with. Pea tendrils for instance or mache or wild rocket arugula or frisee will all make a delicious base for an avocado salad. Add to that some juicy grapefruits, toasted nuts, and a couple of un-bruised avocados that give way slightly when you apply a bit of gentle pressure. This is called a perfect avocado, but if all you find is hard baseballs, hasten the ripening process by placing them into a brown bag with a banana. Yes, banana. Don’t balk, just do it. Something about the banana (enzymes) tells the avocado to get busy and it does. Olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper make this a delightful salad.
If you puree an avocado with some crème fraiche, lime juice, salt and pepper, you have a striking cream sauce that adds contrast drizzled over a summer corn soup or gazpacho or grilled vegetables. It also goes nicely with chicken or fish.
Avocados are an excellent source of potassium, folic acid, and vitamin B so for those healthy peeps out there, chop an avocado and mix it with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, lemon juice, and some raw nuts as a spread for a piece of sprouted grain toast. Food as fuel, folks.
Or take said chopped avocado and add it to cooked couscous with some diced red onion, mint, and maybe a sliced up lemon cucumber. The dressing is up to you, the ole’ faithful being olive oil and white balsamic vinegar of course, but you can also try this dressing/salsa that Matt makes a lot because it is just so versatile.
AVOCADO DRESSING OR SALSA
1 ripe avocado
1 heirloom tomato
A handful of fresh soft herbs such as basil, mint, tarragon or cilantro
Salt and Pepper
An acid such as white balsamic vinegar or lemon, lime or grapefruit juice.
Puree all ingredients together.
Hey, a big shout out to Schaner Farms at the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmer’s Market where you can find some of the very best varieties like Reed or Bacon or Fuerte. Haas is the avocado that is most common and there is nothing wrong with common when it is perfect.
Tara Maxey is the sweet side of Heirloom LA, with Matthew Poley handling the savory side.