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The Start of California Avocado Season Means Premium Quality Fruit is Here.

Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger Launch the Season with Two New Avocado Recipes

IRVINE, Calif. -- California avocado season has arrived, making this delectable fruit readily available at grocery stores throughout the country. March through September marks the California avocado season, so now is the perfect time to incorporate this premium fruit in avocado-centric recipes created by chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.

Ninety percent of the nation's avocado crop is grown in California by approximately 6,000 farmers who nurture their trees by hand from seed to harvest. Their commitment to quality can be seen in the superior fruit they produce.

Milliken and Feniger are the chef/owners of Ciudad in Los Angeles, the Border Grill restaurants in Santa Monica, Calif., and Las Vegas, and the Border Grill Truck, which brings their modern Mexican food to neighborhoods throughout Southern California. Feniger also recently opened Street in Los Angeles. The chefs have such an affinity for California avocados that they have partnered with the California Avocado Commission to create exclusive recipes that utilize fresh, seasonal ingredients and highlight the California avocado's top quality, taste and flavor.

"When you work with premium ingredients like California avocados, it's easy to create restaurant-quality dishes at home," said Milliken. "Our California Avocado, Bacon and Tomato Salad and California Avocado Piquillo Pepper Frittata recipes combine fresh vegetables with the delicate flavor and creamy texture of California avocados - perfect dishes for the season," added Feniger.

While California-grown avocados are widely acknowledged for their exceptional flavor, they also contribute "good fats" and nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to one's diet. In California avocados, the greatest concentration of beneficial phytonutrients is in the dark green fruit of the avocado closest to the peel. To get to the nutrient-rich fruit directly under the peel, one should nick and peel the skin from the avocado.1

To view or download videos of chefs Milliken and Feniger demonstrating these recipes, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com.

For other recipes by chefs Milliken and Feniger that feature fresh California avocados, visit the California Avocado Commission Web site at CaliforniaAvocado.com/recipes/chefs/chef-list/Feniger.

California Avocado Piquillo Pepper Frittata

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 40 minutes, including marinating time; Cooking Time: 15 minutes; Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

* 1 ripe, fresh California avocado, seeded, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

* 1/2 cup jarred roasted piquillo peppers, cut into 1/4-inch strips

* 1 clove garlic, minced

* 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

* 2 tsp. sherry vinegar

* Salt, to taste

* Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

* 8 eggs

* 1/2 cup grated Spanish manchego cheese

* 2 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley

* 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, for cooking

Instructions

1. In a small mixing bowl, toss together avocado, peppers, garlic, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Let marinate 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 400F.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, cheese and parsley until frothy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the avocado mixture.

4. Heat oil in a 10-inch, nonstick, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the egg mixture, reduce heat to medium and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until the bottom is set and the top is still runny. Occasionally lift the outer edges so the uncooked egg can run underneath.

5. Place the skillet in the oven and cook until the eggs are set and golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes.

6. Remove the skillet from the oven and loosen the bottom of the frittata with a spatula. Place a serving plate over the skillet and invert the frittata onto it. Cut into wedges and serve hot or at room temperature.

Tip: Crumbled goat cheese may be substituted for Spanish manchego cheese.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 300; Total Fat 23 g (Sat 6 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 1.1 g, Mono 6.9 g); Cholesterol 440 mg; Sodium 370 mg; Total Carbohydrates 8 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Protein 16 g

California Avocado, Bacon and Tomato Salad

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes; Cooking Time: 20 minutes; Total Time: 40 minutes

California Avocado, Bacon and Tomato Salad

Ingredients

* 8 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch dice

* 2 Tbsp. large capers, thoroughly drained and patted dry

* 4 thin slices red onion

* 12 cups assorted lettuces, such as romaine, arugula, escarole and watercress

* 1 ripe, fresh California avocado, seeded, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

* 4 medium tomatoes, cored and diced

* Homemade Croutons (see make-ahead recipe below)

* Vinaigrette (see make-ahead recipe below)

* 1 ripe, fresh California avocado, seeded, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced

* Cracked Black Pepper Oil, optional (see make-ahead recipe below)

Instructions

1. Cook bacon in pan over medium heat until golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels. Leave bacon fat in pan.

2. Increase heat to medium-high. When pan is hot, but not smoking, add capers and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels.

3. Soak onion slices in ice water for 2 to 3 minutes, drain on paper towels and separate into rings.

4. Toss salad greens in a large bowl with bacon, onion, avocado, tomato and Homemade Croutons.

5. Sprinkle salad with the Vinaigrette and toss to coat all ingredients evenly.

6. Divide salad equally onto plates. Top each with a fan of thinly sliced avocado, and if desired, drizzle with Cracked Black Pepper Oil.

7. Sprinkle with capers and serve immediately.

Homemade Croutons

Ingredients

* 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

* 4 slices crusty whole wheat bread, torn into small pieces

* Salt, to taste

* Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add bread and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat with oil and seasoning.

2. Saute over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Remove from heat.

Vinaigrette

Ingredients

* 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

* 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

* 1 lemon, juiced

* 2 tsp. spicy Dijon mustard

* 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

* Salt, to taste

* Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

1. In a small bowl, combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.

2. Whisk vigorously to combine. Refrigerate.

Cracked Black Pepper Oil

Ingredients

* 2 Tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper

* 1 tsp. salt

* 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

* 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

1. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients. Reserve.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 610; Total Fat 53 g (Sat 9 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 5.4 g, Mono 37.3 g); Cholesterol 20 mg; Sodium 500 mg; Total Carbohydrates 25 g; Dietary Fiber 7 g

*Large avocados are recommended for these recipes. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Recipes created by chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger for the California Avocado Commission. Copyright [c] 2010, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.

About the California Avocado Commission

Created in 1978, the California Avocado Commission strives to increase demand for California avocados through advertising, promotion and public relations, and engages in related industry activities that benefit the state's 6,000 avocado growers. The California Avocado Commission serves as the official information source for California avocados and the California avocado industry. For information about California avocados, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com, become a fan at Facebook.com/CaliforniaAvocados and follow the California Avocado Commission on Twitter at Twitter.com/CA_Avocados.

1 Lu Q. California Hass Avocado: Profiling of Carotenoids, Tocopherol, Fatty Acid, and Fat Content During Maturation and From Different Growing Areas. J Agric Food Chem.2009; 57:10408-10413.

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Date:Feb 18, 2010
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