Avocado marketers report that Americans are projected to eat a record 54.3 million pounds of avocados at Super Bowl parties, in spite of California’s big freeze. My favorite is the oval-shaped Hass, which accounts for 95 percent of the California crop. It has a a rich nutty flavor and a thick, bumpy, emerald green skin that turns nearly black when ripe. A green unripe Hass feels hard; soft-ripe avocados yield slightly when gently pressed. To ripen avocados, store in a paper bag with an apple for a few days. The apple releases ethylene gas, speeding the ripening of the avocados.
The National Avocado Board reports that avocados provide satiety because of their water and fiber content. Avocados are sodium and cholesterol-free – a delicious and nutritious alternative to saturated fat-laden spreads, toppings and dips. Ripe avocados can be spread on toast instead of butter or margarine, and spread on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise. Avocados offer monounsaturated fat, which supports heart health. Here is a recipe for fresh guacamole. You can adjust the ingredients to suit your own taste.
2 peeled soft-ripe avocados, cut-up
1 finely minced garlic clove
1 small chopped tomato
1 shallot or 2 green onions, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Finely minced jalapeno chilies, Serrano chilies OR hot sauce, to taste
Sliced black olives
Sliced green onion
In a large mortar (with pestle) or in a large bowl with a fork, mash avocados. Avocados should remain chunky. Lightly mix in garlic, tomato, shallot, lime juice, cilantro and salt, or to taste. Add chilies, if used. Turn into a bowl and top with garnishes, as desired. Best if served immediately. If to be refrigerated for a short time, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation. Some cooks drop an avocado pit in the middle of the guacamole to help retain its color and freshness. Serve with chips or fresh cut vegetables. Makes about 3 cups.
Guacamole, Your Way
Get creative and give your guacamole a unique flavor. Use the recipe above and mix in one or two of the following ingredients. Amounts are approximate and can be adjusted to personal taste.
* 1 or 2 finely chopped or pureed tomatillos
* 1/3 cup chopped peeled mango
* 1/3 cup chopped peeled pear
* 1/4 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
* 1/3 cup chopped fresh pineapple
* 2 tablespoons rinsed capers
* Pureed chipolte in adobo (smoked jalapenos), to
* 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* Ready-made Pico de Gallo or chunky salsa
* About 4 ounces chopped smoked salmon or trout
* 4 to 6 ounces chopped cooked shrimp or crabmeat
* 1/2 cup black beans
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, dill or tarragon
* 1/2 cup cooked baby corn kernels
* 1 teaspoon wasabi & 2 Tbsp. salmon roe caviar
* 1/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
* 1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese
* 1/2 cup fresh white goat cheese, crumbled
* 1/4 cup sliced black olives
* 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomato
* 1/3 cup diced hothouse cucumber
Tennessee Tailgate Guacamole
From the California Avocado Commission
2 ripe fresh California avocados, seeded, peeled and coarsely mashed
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
10 drops red pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon coarse garlic salt
1 ounce crumbled blue cheese
3 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
In medium bowl combine avocados, lime juice, red pepper sauce and garlic salt. Stir in blue cheese, bell pepper and parsley. Serve with tortilla chips or cut vegetables.
Nutrients per 2 tablespoons: calories 42; protein 1g; carbohydrates 2g; fat 4g (saturated fat1g; monounsaturated fat 2g; polyunsaturated 0.4g) cholesterol 1mg; dietary fiber 1g; sodium 130mg.
Avocado Angel Eggs
From the California Avocado Commission
Here is a Super Bowl-worthy munchy from the California Avocado Commission. You can also stuff the hard-cooked egg whites with your favorite homemade guacamole.
1 dozen large hard cooked eggs, peeled
2 ripe California avocados
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 tablespoon coarse ground garlic powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or green onions
2 teaspoons capers mashed, optional
Garnish, slivers of red, yellow or green bell pepper
Slice each egg in half lengthwise removing egg yolks.
Use egg yolks in another recipe. Cut avocado in half and remove seed. Peel avocado and cube. In bowl combine avocado, lemon juice and garlic mashing to blend. Stir in shallots or green onions and capers, if desired. Fill each egg white with avocado mixture. Garnish with bell pepper. Serve.
Nutrients per serving: calories 35; protein 2g;
carbohydrates 1g; fat 3; dietary fiber 1g;
cholesterol 0mg; sodium 55 mg.
Photos (“copyright” ) Courtesy of California Avocado Commission