Tag Archives: avocado

Quickie Criollo Tomato and Avocado Salad (great side for spicy, salty or otherwise highly seasoned food)

3 Oct

A go-to side for spicy creole cooking!

This is a super-quick, healthy side dish that we use in the Caribbean to accompany really salty stuff, like bacalao (salt cod) dishes, or to cool the palate between bites of something spicy. It goes wonderfully with creole soups, or as the lightest, yet most satisfying of dinners when you don’t want to fuss (A hard-boiled egg or a scoop of tuna would be a fine protein accompaniment). The colors and slices lend themselves to festive; this dish looks like a party, even if it’s just a party of one.
We had it tonight with a mini-tortilla española (potato and egg stovetop frittata) I made while doing a bigger sized one for our Restoration Farm potluck on Sunday, green salad and some string beans blanched and then sauteed with garlic and oil (and a bit of bacon fat, truth be told).



Quickie Tomato and Avocado Salad

1 ripe avocado (responds to pressure, but isn’t totally mushy*), sliced into eight wedges and peeled

1 ripe tomato, cut into eight wedges

¼ red onion, peeled and sliced thinly, lengthwise

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Salt for sprinkling

Freshly cracked pepper, if desired

Arrange avocado and tomato wedges on a small plate, alternating

Scatter red onion on top. Drizzle olive oil as desired.

Sprinkle salt and optional black pepper and serve cold

*Buying avocado is not easy, I know! Lately I have had a 50-50 record of success with the little black Hass ones, despite my years of practice. I don’t know what’s up with that, but the general rule is to buy it hard and stick it in a paper bag — with an apple, if you’ve got — for a couple of days. If you are buying an avocado for the very same day, look for something that yields to pressure, but doesn’t totally mush. If it is ripe but you are not ready to use it, it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

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Super Bowl: My Guacamole Kicks Your Guacamole’s …

29 Jan

An integral part of any Super Bowl strategy

The Super Bowl is only a game.

Super Bowl food, however, is serious business.

Guacamole is the bottom line of that business.

Guacamole (an appropriate linguistic blend of  the Spanish word for avocado: “aguacate” and “mole” or “milled/mashed”) is an integral part of the strategy of any self-respecting Super Bowl party, with avocado forming the base. I borrow this from Steve Inskeep on NPR’s Morning Edition to give you an idea:

Avocado consumption during the Super Bowl has become the stuff of urban legend. Most of the statistics are probably exaggerated, but that’s not going to stop us from repeating them. Because one says Americans will consume about 50 million pounds of the fruit as they sit on their couches watching the game. A more graphic claim comes from the California Avocado Commission (which)… has been quoted saying the amount of guacamole that Americans will eat this Sunday is enough to cover a football field – end-zone to end-zone, waist deep.

And when it comes to guacamole, I am the one who should have several big, fat Super Bowl rings studding my stumpy-sturdy, more-useful-than-beautiful, hands. Any time I serve it, I win.

I do not care what is traditional, what is correct, what should be, how anyone else does it. My guacamole has always and will always rock. I am proud of it and everyone loves it.

So now that we have dispensed with any pretense at humility, I will give you my recipe, which is a more-or-less one that you should taste while making, because that is what I do. It never tastes exactly the same, but it always tastes good.

Natalia de Cuba Romero’s Legendary Guacamole

2-3-4 Hass (small black pebbly) avocadoes, purchased relatively hard, 3-4 days before the game and scrupulously monitored for a gentle give before cutting open*

3-4 generous and fragrant cloves garlic, peeled (minced superfine if you don’t have a garlic press. If you do have a garlic press, wait for instructions)

1 tsp ground cumin (at least)

¼ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (Key limes are the best, but not crucial; pre-squeezed from those plastic lime shaped containers is not an acceptable option)

¼ tsp salt

1 Cup nonfat plain yogurt

1-2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Handful grape tomatoes, halved, insides squeezed out haphazardly, then chopped

1 Tbs cilantro, finely chopped (unless you have some aversion to cilantro, which many people, remarkably enough, do)

Black pepper to sprinkle

Note: You really should have a garlic press for this.

Have a big bowl ready. Cut the avocado in half, remove pit and peel. Place in bowl. Press  (or add minced) garlic. Add cumin, salt, and some of the lime juice. Mash it to your liking (smooth or chunky). Add a couple of generous tablespoons of yogurt to taste (this is a stretching measure so you need to play with it and add as needed). Play with the spices a quarter tsp at a time and the lime a tsp at a time. When you like the flavor you have achieved, stir in the eggs and tomato. Et voila! The best guacamole ever. Serve with good tortilla chips (I like the blue corn ones, myself)

 *Do NOT wait till game day to buy your avocadoes because only the hard, unripe ones will be left. Buy several days ahead, let soften outside the fridge and if they give a LOT when you press, put them in the fridge immediately. The yogurt will save you if you don’t have enough soft or if you have too much brown flesh.

If using the Florida/Caribbean large, smooth-skinned variety, you may not need much yogurt, because they are more watery, not as dense.

 

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