That’s what my great-aunt Shirley ( great in both senses) called them.
So does Stephanie Alexander in the amazing ‘Cook’s Companion’.
It’s an exercise in pedantry to talk about them not actually being pears. We’re still eating the same thing.
Koala Bear? We know they’re not bears, right?
(please don’t eat koalas btw.)
‘How much pear could an avocado bear if an avocado really was a pear?”
As a head chef I have the occasional privilege of attending masterclass dinners. 1 ingredient, 6 or more courses, lots of free wine and hob-nobbing. My favourites have been the avocado. Nobody is surprised at what can be done with pork or salmon, but avocado provides some different challenges for the chef.
I use avocado almost everyday at home and work, there are more things it goes with then doesn’t. G.F doesn’t like it. Kid loves it. On toast with vegemite (try it if you doubt us), rolled in sushi or just on a plate in some salad.
Here’s a few ideas we tried out this week.
Guacamole with Homemade Corn Chips
There’s not much to either of these dishes. Guacamole is a Mexican staple as are corn chips. Don’t smoosh the avo too much, keep it a little chunky and don’t, for the love of god, put sour cream in it. Put it next to it if you like 🙂
Guacamole- Avocado, chopped tomato, chopped onion, chopped coriander, lime juice, salt and pepper. Optional tabasco. Mix and serve.
Corn Chips – 1 cup masa harina ( fine, instant polenta will do also) 3/4 cup hot water, 1 tablespoon olive oil plus extra for brushing, sea salt. Pre-heat your oven to 180*c. Mix it all together really well, either by hand or machine, until you have a smooth, soft dough. Divide it into two. Now roll it out between 2 sheets of baking paper until it’s super thin. About 1-2mm. Remove the top sheet of paper, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cut it into shapes with a sharp knife but leave it intact on the tray. Bake for about 15 mins or until just golden and crisp. Cool and eat.
You can flavour these as well. Not the apocalyptic ‘cheese’ flavour you get at the shops, but sprinkle a little sesame or spice or parmesan over the rolled out dough. Put paper back on top and roll again. Then bake.
The avo and vegemite combo is one I was surprised by at first but now it’s a regular go to for Kid and I, especially in winter. On the other toast we have avocado, hot smoked ocean trout, pickles, rocket, olive oil and lemon.
The peppery rocket, smoky fish and grassy notes of the oil are a winner.
A Sunday Salad
It’s called that because it’s something you could just graze on all day.
Fresh is key.
This one is a nod to those cultures out there who pair their avocado with sweet, rather than salty or sour flavours. Beetroot, shaved fennel, cottage cheese, pomegranate, dukkah and honey. These are just suggestions.
Avocado is a bit like the denim jeans of the food world, you can wear it with anything.
Japanesey – avocado and cucumber salad with white miso and sesame.
The Dressing – 1 tablespoon white miso paste, 1 tablespoon mirin, juice of 1 lime, 2 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds plus extra for garnish. Warm everything until just combined. Chill and serve. I’ve never been to Japan, one day though. I can’t imagine they eat a lot of avocado there purely because of the cost but it is rife in Japanese restaurants in Australia. The flavours match really well. As I mentioned, Kid loves her avocado in sushi (are there kids who don’t ?) She was eating raw salmon off the sushi train when she was one.
That’s what they say right? It’s gotta be ripe. I’ve eaten it unripe in a Vietnamese style entrée with shredded chicken and fish sauce and the like. Much in the same way green mango or green papaya can be used. I’m not sure it did a lot for me to be honest, not much flavour. So, yeah, ripe.
They even come with little stickers sometimes to let you know.
Avocado Butter – 4 parts avocado, 1 part good olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon and a pinch of salt. Puree the avocado, slowly adding oil all the time. Finish with lemon and salt. You’ll see why it’s called ‘butter’.
It’s also a great excuse for chefs to do that thing we’re it looks like we’ve dragged our finger through it.
Again, this will go with heaps of things. Smeared on a cracker, as sauce for grilled fish, with any type of salty cheese – haloumi, feta, brie….
You can also use avo in the place of bananas in desserts it turns out.
They have some similar properties.
There’s a sameness to the smell of an over-ripe avo and an over-ripe banana.
Don’t forget this one from last week either, avocado, fresh prawns and cocktail sauce on fresh baked bread.
What Kid Did
It’s school holidays so I didn’t want to chain Kid to the kitchen too much.
She had a good time mixing up the guacamole, preparing and arranging some salad gear, toasting sesame seeds, washing herbs.
Playing Scooby Doo Wii like a champion.
She didn’t find making our corn chips as exciting as I’d hoped. I thought I was gonna be like some magic chef Dad guy, but corn chips is just corn chips apparently.
But mainly eating everything. She’s always enjoyed her food, Kid.
And when it comes to doing food together, we make a good pair.