Avocado

Avocado

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

Avocados are the fruit of trees native to Central and South America. They are easy to eat, easy to digest and are rich in oils, proteins and vitamins, particularly vitamin C. They may be pear-shaped or round, and green, purple or blackish-coloured. Some have a thin skin and some a hard, knobbly shell. All have pale, creamy flesh and are ready to eat when they yield slightly if pressed gently between the hands. Choose fruit that is heavy and even-coloured without cracks, bruises or very soft spots. Avocados that are firm and hard will ripen if kept at room temperature for 2–3 days.

Basic preparation: Using a stainless steel knife to prevent discolouration, cut in half downwards from the stem end. Twist halves slightly to separate, and lift out stone by impaling it on the sharp point of a knife. If you are removing the skin, peel off with a knife if thin, or pry off with a teaspoon handle if thick and hard. Halves can be diced, sliced or mashed. Since the flesh darkens quickly on contact with air, brush or toss immediately with lemon juice or vinegar.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. As an appetiser or first course: Serve halves in the shell, one half per person. The hollows can be filled with vinaigrette dressing, or seafood mixed with mayonnaise. Some people like just salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice or a sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce.
  2. As a sandwich filling or as a topping for savouries: Mash flesh with lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper and a touch of crushed garlic or grated onion. A little crumbled crisp bacon sprinkled on top is delicious.
  3. As a garnish: Add cubes of avocado to consommé, or cut in crescents to top potato, chicken or salad.
  4. To serve hot: Fill cavities of halved avocados in the shell with hot creamed seafood, ham or chicken. Top with grated cheese or buttered breadcrumbs and bake in a preheated moderate oven for 10 minutes or until just heated through.
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