When I was growing up in California we had four large haas avocado trees in our back yard. I would visit the trees often, picking the ripe fruit, and letting it sit on a window sill until it became perfectly soft and ready to eat. On many occasions I would slice one in half, remove the pit and scoop out the flesh, and season with some salt and lime juice. My family and I would also make guacamole with our avocados. Guacamole is a simple dish, easy to make, and goes with all kinds of food; don’t forget… it’s great by itself too!
Now is the time to pick up some avocados at the market. Most grocery and other specialty stores have them in abundance during the summer months.
All avocados aren’t created equally. When choosing an avocado it’s important to feel the texture- the fruit should be slightly soft, but not mushy. You can pick a hard avocado if you prefer, it might just take a few extra days to ripen.
I usually like to pick avocados with dark, thick skin- they usually have the richest taste.
Besides having a myriad of health benefits, avocados add a unique creamy texture to food. Try these recipes, and be sure to eat plenty of avocados this summer season!
4 large avocados
2 roma tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
¼ cup chopped red onion
Juice from 1 lime
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut each of the avocados in half, running your knife around the pit in a circular motion. Pull the avocados apart using a twisting motion. Carefully remove each pit using a knife.
Using a spoon, remove the avocado from the shell, and place into a bowl. Next, place the lime juice, and salt and pepper on the avocados. Crush the avocados with a large fork until it becomes creamy. Add the tomatoes, chopped onion, cilantro and cumin. Mix all of the ingredients together softly.
If you need to store your guacamole, place the pits on your finished product, cover and place in the fridge.
Mango and Avocado Salsa with Jicama and Lump Crab
Serves 4 to 6
1 can jumbo lump crab meat
4 ripe avocados
1 large, ripe mango chopped into cubes
1 large jicama, chopped
½ chopped red onion
½ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
Cut each of the avocados in half, running your knife around the pit in a circular motion. Pull the avocados apart using a twisting motion.
Carefully remove each pit using a knife.
Peel and remove the fruit from the mango. Chop the mango into small, ¼ inch pieces.
Crush the avocados with a large fork until it become creamy. Add the jicama, and mango, and mix gently.
Next, place the onions, cilantro, parsley, lemon and lime juice and salt and pepper in the mixture- mix.
Lastly, place the lump crab meat into the mixture and incorporate.
Serve on crackers, over fish or chicken, or by itself.
You may also use ½ pound of shrimp in place of the crab, or leave out the proteins totally for a vegetarian or vegan salsa!
Chef Chuck Kerber