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Avocados: the time is ripe.

Avocado aficionados, take heart. More than 500 million pounds of these incomparable fruits are on their way to stores and markets nationwide. Growers in Southern California report record avocado crops this year, which means a bigger selection and possibly lower prices.

No everyone likes avocados at his first tasting, but generally it's love at least by second bite. Once the human-avocado bond is established, a person is hooked for life.

If you are unfamiliar with this semitropical delicacy, here's what to look for at the store: small, oval fruits, with pebbly purplish-to-black skin. This is the Hass variety, or summer avocado, available from April through November. From November through May, you'll find the Fuertes, the winter avocado, which is smooth and pear-shaped, with green skin.

Never eat an avocado that is firm to the touch. It will taste bitter. Most avocados are still firm at the store and shoul be left to ripen at room temperature or in a refrigerator until soft and almost squishy. For quicker ripening, put avocados in a paper bag.

How to eat them:

Slice the avocado in half and pry out the huge seed. Then lay the flat side down and gently peel off the skin, or just scoop out the golden fruit with a knife or a spoon.

Purists prefer to take their avocados "straight up" on crackers so they can savor every rich, buttery bite. Others like to experiment. They spread their avocados on everything from sandwiches to salads to pizzas and put them in chilies, in stir-fries and even in soups. The more adventorous have tried avocado cheesecake, avocado ice cream and avocado Margaritas.

Avocados are rich but only moderately high in calories (about 150 to a three-ounce half). Health-care professionals, in fact, recommend them because they have absolutely no cholesterol, little saturated fat and only traces of sodium. What they do have plenty of its potassium (about 540 mg per three-ounce serving). Avocados also supply vitamin B.sub.6., folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, copper and magnesium, among other vitamins and minerals--as well as a moderate amount of protein and crude fiber (1.8 grams in a three-ounce serving).

To keep avocados bright yellow after peeling, sprinkle them with lemon or lime. You may want to whip them into a spread to use in place of butter or margarine or to blend them with vinegar or lemon juice for a delicious salad dressing.

The following recipes are dedicated to all who are hooked for life on avocados, as well as to the thousands more who soon will be.

Avocada Pasta Salad (Serves 4) 1 medium California avocado, halved, seeded and peeled 1 pound linguini, cooked 12 large shrimp, cooked, deveined and butterflied 4 small tomatoes, sliced 4 green onions and tops, sliced Dressing

Slice avocado halves in half to make 4 wedges. Cut each wedge into a fan of 3 slices and set aside. Arrange equal portions of linguini, shrimp, tomato and green onion on 4 salad plates. Top with avocado fans. Drizzle dressing over salads and serve.


Combine 4 tablespoon red-wine vinegar, 8 teaspoons salad oil, 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard and 4 fresh basil leaves, julienned, or a pinch of crushed basil leaves; mix well.

California Curry Salad (Serves 4) Spinach or romaine lettuce leaves (about 1/2 bunch) 2 large California avocados, seeded, peeled and sliced 2 pink grapefruit, pared and sectioned 2 large oranges, pared and sectioned 2 green onions and tops, sliced 2 tablespoons cashew nuts Curry Dressing Watercress, if desired

Line 4 individual salad plates with salad greens. Arrange fruit and avocado alternately in circular pattern over greens and top with green onion and cashews. Just before serving, dribble Curry Dressing over each salad and garnish with watercress.

Curry Dressing

Mix 1/3 cup salad oil, 2 tablespoons each lemon juice and red-wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon chutney, finely chopped, and 1/2 teaspoon each curry powder, salt and dry mustard in tightly covered container; shake well. Let dressing sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes. Shake well before serving.

Avocado-Mushroom Open-Faced Sandwich (Makes 4 sandwiches) 4 slices wheat bread 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1-1/2 teaspoons capers, if desired 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice Salad bowl or Boston lettuce leaves fontina or Swiss cheese (3 oz.), thinly sliced 4 slices purple onion 1 large or 2 small California avocados 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced 2 ounces fresh bean sprouts Lemon wedges and pimiento, if desired

Toast bread. Combine mayonnaise, capers, mustard and lemon juice until well blended; spread on one side of each slice of toast. Cover each with lettuce leaf, cheese and onion. In the meantime, halve, seed and peel avocado; cut into 1/4" slices. Arrange avocado slices vertically atop toast, and alternate with mushrooms and bean sprouts. Garnish each sandwich with lemon and pimiento.

Taco Love Boats

(Serves 6) 1 pound ground beef 1 medium onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 cup chili sauce 1/2 cup water 1 tablespoon chili powder 1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 large tomato, chopped 1 can (3-1/2 oz.) large pitted black olives, quartered 3 large California avocados 1 cup (4 oz.) Cheddar cheese, shredded 3 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded Tortilla or corn chips

Cook and stir ground beef, onion and garlic in large skillet until light brown; drain. Stir in chili sauce, water, chili powder, salt, cumin, tomato and olives. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, and stir occasionally, 10 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates and mixture thickens. In the meantime, halve avocados; remove seeds. (Do not peel.) Scoop out pulp and leave 1/4" in shell. Dice pulp; add meat mixture. Fill shell halves with avocado-and-meat combination. Top each with shredded cheese; place under broiler until cheese melts. Perch "love boats" atop shredded lettuce, and serve with tortilla chips.

California Calzone (Serves 4) 1 loaf (1 pound) frozen bread dough, thawed and cut in quarters 3/4 pound lean ground beef Vegetable oil 2 small onions, thinly sliced 2 ripe California avocados, seeded, peeled and sliced 2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced 1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired 1 tablespoon oregano 1 tablespoon basil 2 cups Monterey jack cheese, grated

Roll or work each piece of dough on a lightly floured board into 8-inch rounds. Brown beef in skillet; remove from pan with slotted spoon, drain well and divide over the dough rounds. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan and saute onion slices until tender. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and spread over beef mixture. Top with avocado and tomato slices, salt, herbs and cheese. Moisten edges of dough with water and fold dough over like a turnover; tuck edges under. Brush generously with oil. Bake at 450[deg.]F. for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Use honey wheat or cracked wheat for best flavor, if available.

Peanut Butter-Avocado Sandwich (Makes 4 sandwiches) 1/2 cup peanut butter 3-4 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon dark raisins 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1 medium California avocado, seeded, peeled and sliced 8 slices egg-sesame bread

Combine peanut butter, honey, raisins, lemon juice and cinnamon until well blended. Halve, seed and peel avocado; slice lengthwise. Toast bread on one side only. Spread untoasted side with peanut-butter mixture; top with avocado slices. Cover with second slice of bread, toasted side up.

Avocado-Papaya Soup (Serves 4) 1 can (6 oz.) papaya or peach nectar 1 carton (8 oz.) lemon-flavored yogurt 1/2 cup cream 1-1/2 teaspoons honey Dash cinnamon 1 medium-ripe California avocado Fresh papaya or peach, if desired

Combine nectar, yogurt, cream, honey and cinnamon in large bowl or blender, mix thoroughly and chill. Just before serving, seed, peel and cube avocado. (Or scoop into balls with melon-ball cutter.) Place equal amounts of avocado in each of four soup bowls. Pour chilled soup over and garnish each with a fresh peach slice or papaya balls.

Avocado-Raspberry Mousse (Serves 4) 3 cups frozen whipped topping 2 medium-ripe California avocados, seeded, peeled and pureed 2 tablesppons brown sugar 4 teaspoons rum Juice of 1-1/2 lemons 1 package (10 oz.) frozen raspberries, thawed

Combine whipped topping, avocado, brown sugar, rum and lemon juice in large bowl; refrigerate until firm. Meanwhile, puree raspberries: spoon equal amounts of puree on 4 dessert plates. Place scoop of avocado mousse over raspberries. Serve with crisp cookies and fresh raspberries, if desired.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Cunningham, Ann
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jul 1, 1985
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