stuffed avocados

Romancing The Avocado

Avocados are, to me, amongst the most sensuous, luscious and luxurious of ingredients. Add how delicious, soft and subtly flavored they are, and you get a clear winner for Valentine’s Day. Despite the many pounds of avocados we go through at home each week, regardless of the infinite number of cases I use for events at Washington, DC’s Mexican Cultural Institute, and  notwithstanding that my sisters and I used them for hair and face treatments as we were growing up (all those nurturing natural oils and vitamins), I still find avocados to be wow-inducing.

If there’s an avocado dish on a restaurant menu, it lands on my table.

So if I am planning a menu, especially with a hint of romance, avocados will be there…

I am not unique thinking that avocados are something special. To the Aztecs, who ate avocados in Mexico for centuries before the Spaniards arrived, they were revered fruit considered to have strong fertility and aphrodisiac powers. Indeed, the Spanish word aguacate comes from the Nahuatl ahuacatl, or “testicles,” presumbly in reference to their shape. The avocado was warmly welcomed in the countries where it was introduced. And thanks in part to its accomodating nature – its meat can be smashed, diced, pureed, stuffed or sliced, or it can be part of a filling or a centerpiece – it has been creatively adopted in many cuisines.

It is true that many people think of guacamole when they hear “avocado.” And there must be more than a thousand reasons to love guacamole. Fast and easy to make, and so fun to eat, it screams out fiesta with each bite. My favorite way to make guacamole is to mix diced avocado with chopped onion and cilantro, squeeze fresh lime juice on top, sprinkle with sea salt and top it off with chopped chipotle chilis in adobo.

Guacamole, though, is just the tip of the avocado iceberg, both inside and outside Mexican cuisine.

Think about eel-and-avocado sushi, a French salad with layers of avocado sprinkled with Roquefort cheese, or an Italian salad with layers of ripe avocado and ash-coated goat cheese, olive oil, coarse salt and basil leaves. It’s hard to imagine a vegetarian sandwich without avocados.

I have tried eight varieties of avocados, and though I like most of them, the one I prefer is the Hass variety. It is available year-round, and is creamy and rich rather than fibrous like other kinds, such as El Fuerte.

Avocados are a fruit that ripen off the tree, so they are often sold unripe. If you are in a hurry to use an avocado, you can hasten the ripening process by wrapping it in newspapers or keeping it in a paper bag in a warm area of the kitchen. If you can wait, it will ripen at a nice pace uncovered in the kitchen.

When ripe, the Hass, with the pebbly skin completely blackened, will give a bit with a gentle squeeze of your hand. If it doesn’t, then it needs a bit more time to mature. You can keep a ripe avocado in the refrigerator for up to a week. It is apparently a myth that keeping the seed in a cut avocado keeps it from darkening. What does seem to help is to squeeze fresh lime juice on top.Here are four of my favorite takes on avocado: an elegant-looking appetizer, a retro mousse, an exotic-sounding soup and a hearty sandwich. Regardless of which way you use it, including avocado in your romantic dinner – as long as it’s not in a hair or skin treatment –  will show your Valentine that you really care.

Article written for and published by National Public Radio’s Kitchen Window.

Chopped Egg and Avocado Sandwich

Sandwich de Huevo y Aguacate

Recipe Yield

3 to 4 servings

Cooking time

20 minutes

Rate this recipe

5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

  • 3 large hard-boiled eggs peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped white onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill or 1/4 teaspoon dry dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1 (about 3/4 pound) large ripe Mexican avocado halved, seeded, meat scooped out and diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt or to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 to 8 slices brioche or challah or any bread of your choice, lightly toasted
  • 4 slices Muenster Mexican manchego, or chihuahua, or Monetery Jack cheese (optional)

To Prepare

  • In a bowl, mix the eggs, onion, parsley, dill, Dijon and mayonnaise together. Toss in the avocado, sprinkle with salt and pepper and gently mix well.
  • Lightly toast the bread slices. Scoop a generous amount of the chopped egg and avocado on a slice of bread, add a slice of cheese and top with another slice of bread.

Comments

14comments inRomancing The Avocado

  1. Roger

    Feb 21

    Regarding the stuffed avocados, the instructions say to add the parsley (preceding text says cilantro), but the amount of parsley is not specified in the ingredients list. Your suggestion?

    1. Pati

      Feb 24

      Thank you so much Roger for spotting that! I’ve corrected the recipe…it is 2 tablespoons. ​

  2. Mónica

    Feb 22

    Pati, you are right. I always have chiles. I have two tin cans full of a variety of dry ones and at least three salsas in the fridge. Hehe. Can’t change who we are, can we?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 22

      Mónica, never enough chiles! What you will never, ever, see missing from my pantry, are cans of Chipotles in Adobo Sauce. As for my refrigerator, always, Jalapeños or Serranos, and most times Poblanos.

  3. Mónica

    Feb 18

    I always tell my friends that they can count on my kitchen having three things because I’m Mexican: Limes, cilantro and avocados. Otherwise, they should take my passport away.
    ¡Felicidades por el artículo, Pati! Voy a hacer la prueba con una de tus recetas.
    Un beso!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 18

      Gracias Monica!! Hey what about the chiles?? Chipotles? Jalapeños? Can’t live without those either…

  4. Fuji Mama

    Feb 16

    Such a fantastic article! We share your opinion in our house. In fact, in our daughters’ eyes, the avocado is afforded special worship. They will do just about anything if you promise them avocado.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 16

      Hey,
      You are making me laugh! Well you are following the food steps of the Aztecs!! They seriously worshiped avocados too…

  5. Laura

    Feb 15

    Pati,
    I feel compelled to tell you that this dish was so enthusiastically received last night for our Valentine’s Day dinner at home. My husband, who is quite a skeptic, was talking about it over and over! He asked me to make it again!
    Thank you so much for sharing this!
    Laura Lant

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 15

      Hi Laura,
      Thank you so much! It is exactly comments and experiences as yours what truly make my work so worthwhile. I am happy to keep on sharing more and more… Very best, Pati

  6. David Uribe

    Feb 14

    Hi Pati,
    We share your love for Mexican food and Hass avocados, we eat them almost every day.
    Have you tried the “Aguacates Criollos” they are similar to Hass but have more flavor, specially when you eat them with their thin skin in a taco. I have only been able to buy them in Queretaro, Guanajuato and Michoacan. They are the very best avocados.
    We are Mexican Canadian Americans and we appreciate your writings, they inspire us to run to the kitchen.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 14

      Hi David,
      Many thanks for your lovely message, so glad you like my posts. And yes!! I have tried the Criollos and absolutely die for those… however, I haven’t been able to find them outside of Mexico. A true delicacy… (!)

  7. Elycooks

    Feb 12

    I share your avocado love. I went thru college in Northern California eating thick slices of avocado on baguettes as my main meal. Who needs anything else? It’s still a favorite lunch.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 13

      Indeed!!! When I am in a hurry, sometimes I just slice some ripe avocado into warm corn tortillas, sprinkle a little salt… And done!

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