Avocado Two Ways [recipe]

I had my first taste of avocado when I was in 5th grade, on a family vacation trip to Thailand. It was at a very touristy restaurant, of what type of cuisine I cannot remember, and it was in a form of a shake.  At the time, avocado fruits were expensive and not widely available in Taiwan, where I grew up. But I didn’t order the shake because I wanted to taste it, I ordered it for the novelty aspect, to consume a green-colored drinks. It was rich and creamy, but somewhat bland, not super memorable. But I could see where the Chinese nickname for avocados, “butter fruit”, came from.

I reacquainted with this green fruit after moving to California in 1996. They were sold in every supermarket, and they were in salads, burgers, sandwiches, and oh the guac! I was in love! That shake in Thailand did not do avocados justice. Not even close! Seriously, give me a bowl of freshly-made guacamole and I’ll just eat it with a spoon. But actually, my favorite way to eat avocados is to enjoy them in their simplest form – Slice them up, drizzle them with some Japanese Kewpie mayo (It has to be the yolky Japanese mayo, Best Foods just won’t cut it), and sprinkle with salt and pepper. So creamy and buttery, it’s one of the simplest pleasure in life. I sometimes also add juicy slices of tomatoes or cubes of good quality medium firm tofu.

But sometimes I crave for a bolder flavor. Here are two flavor-packed recipes with avocados that I just adore. To me, avocado is one of those ingredients that just adheres and takes on the flavor of whatever it is that you’re cooking. But it also elevate the taste by adding a touch of buttery richness. Plus, did I mention that it is a very beneficial fruit, high in vitamins and helps lower cholesterol?

*Avocado and Grapefruit Salad
A simple, tried-and-true recipe from Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa, that’s just perfect anytime of the year. It’s not a combination that I would ever try, but I’m so glad I did. The richness of the avocados and the tart and juicy grapefruit really complement each other perfectly. If you can manage to score some extra sweet Ruby Reds, that’d be even more awesome.

This second recipe was inspired from many Japanese fusion restaurants around. I started seeing avocados being paired with salmon and tuna in tartare-like dishes, just like putting them in sushi rolls. Delish! So I thought I’d take a standard ceviche dish and turn it slightly Japanese by adding some ginger, sesame oil and skip the heat.

Ingredients:
1 avocado, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red onion, small dice
1 bunch scallion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (fresh ginger)
juice of 2-3 limes (about 1/2-1/3 cup)
Kosher salt and pepper to season
1 lb sashimi-grade tuna (albacore, ahi, maguro) cut in 1/2″ chunks
sesame oil (to drizzle)
ponzu soy sauce (to drizzle)

Directions:

  • Combine avocado, garlic, onion, scallions, ginger together. Add about half of the lime juice to the mixture, season with salt and pepper. (You can refrigerate this mixture for a couple hours. Good to make ahead.)
  • Right before serving, toss the tuna with the remaining lime juice, add to the avocado mixture. Drizzle sesame oil and ponzu soy sauce. (Don’t mix the tuna until you’re ready to serve. Once the tuna hits the lime juice, it’ll slowly cook the fish and turn it gray. It only tells your guests that the ceviche is not fresh.)
  • Serve immediately with tortilla chips, or spoon them into butter lettuce cups.
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