Please believe that there is a lot more to an avocado than guacamole; not that there’s anything wrong with guacamole, but why limit the horizon of something with such grand potential?
Avocados are excellent served in many ways. Hey, they deserve more than being relegated to the limited role of salads or something to glue the ham and Swiss between two pieces of wheat-berry bread. Avocados are great on their own or as an integral part of numerous upscale and exciting dishes.
Now, although all avocados are good, the Hass Avocado, is superlative and the really great thing is, it’s at its best in winter when we are often produce challenged. Now, if you didn’t grow up with avocados they may be just a tad off-putting. The offerings in markets are often hard as brickbats and bear a marked resemblance to hand-grenades. Not to worry. Bring the little green projectile weapons home, put them in a brown paper bag and leave them on your kitchen counter for a day or two. They will begin to soften.
So, now that the avocado is ripe enough to use, but not so ripe and squishy that it’s only good for guacamole; what is the best way to access it’s delectable interior? The best way to inter an avocado and avail yourself of it’s tender, delectable flesh it to first, cut it in half lengthwise and twist the two halves to separate them. The seed will remain in one half. To remove the seed, whack it moderately hard with the blade of your knife and twist. The seed will come away with the knife. You now have two halves that you may peel to use in numerous dishes, or eat just as it is.
For a truly delectable and urbane fast food snack, take one of the avocado halves, pour a bit of a good Balsamic vinegar into it, sprinkle with a bit of fresh coarse ground black pepper, grab a spoon and enjoy. However, if you are a tad more adventurous, you couldn’t go wrong with the following recipe:
Avocado Crab Puffs
makes about 24
These delectable little fritters have long been a family favorite. Served with a “lite” ranch dressing for dipping, they make an excellent light lunch or great party snack.
Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium-size onion, chopped fine
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons cream Sherry
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled and mashed
1 ½ cups flaked crabmeat
½ cup grated extra-sharp white Cheddar
½ cup grated Swiss cheese – (such as Emmenthaler or Greyère)
1/4 cup finely hopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 egg, beaten lightly
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
About ½ cup all-purpose flour
Grated Parmesan cheese
Lemon or lime wedges
Pour about four inches of vegetable oil into a heavy pot of deep fryer and heat to about 360˚f.
Meanwhile, place the butter and olive oil i a heavy skillet and gently sauté the onion and garlic until pinkish and translucent but not yet beginning to brown. De-glaze the pan with the Sherry and continue to sauté for another minute or two. Remove to a large bowl. Add he avocado and mash thoroughly. Add the crabmeat, Cheddar and Swiss cheeses, parsley, lemon zest and juice, nutmeg, cayenne and egg and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add enough flour to form a firm batter. To test for proper temperature, drop a spoonful of batter into the hot oil. Fry for two or three minutes, or until golden brown, then break it in half to test for doneness.
Once the oil is the correct temperature, use a portion scoop and form dollops of batter about the size of a walnuts. Fry four or five at a time. When golden brown, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. It’s best to do a test run first with just one or two. After removing from the oil, break in half to see if they are done in the center.
To serve, dust with Parmesan cheese and serve with your favorite lite ranch dressing for dipping. Garnish the plate with fresh parsley and wedges of lemon or lime.
I Medium Avocado contains:
Calories – 322
Calories from fat – 265
Total Fat – 29.5g
Saturated Fat – 4.3
Polyunsaturated Fat – 3.7
Monounsaturated Fat – 19.7g
Cholesterol – 0
Sodium – 14mg
Carbohydrates – 17.1g
Fiber – 13.5g
Protein – 4.0g
Incidentally, avocados have more potassium than bananas.