I love avocados as much as anchovies. Healthy, cheap and yet hinting at luxury, they add real texture, colour and flavour.
I eat them straight out of the skin. Or smeared on toast for breakfast. And they’re super-good for you, too: a semi-famous health expert I once knew advised one a day to stay healthy in the mind (something to do with serotonin boosting). Not to mention skin-glowing benefits aplenty.
Did you know the word is derived from the Mexican word for testicle? And like bananas, avocados are ‘climacteric’ fruits which mature on trees, whilst ripening once picked. For speedy ripening, keep them with bananas and apples.
Whilst considered commercially valuable, and expensive in supermarkets, they can be brilliantly cheap on market stalls – especially on Queen’s Crescent. Bargain of the week is Quality Superstore (the former pet shop) on the corner Malden Road, where right now, in the height of summer, you can buy 7 for £1. Yup, that’s 7 beautifully ripe hass avocados for a quid. In M&S that would cost seven times as much, right?
Here are three of my current favourite ways to serve them.
1. The Midweek Lunch: Lazy Avocados with Soft-boiled Egg
When I’m writing at home I make this if I want something nourishing and fast. A greedy mound of the simplest mash (with a little olive oil and salt), a soft boiled free range egg (5 minutes once the water starts bubbling) and some sliced wholegrain toast (smeared with butter). The combination of runny yolk and creamed fruit is pure comfort. More importantly, it boots a hangover away too.
2. The Weekend Lunch: Sardines with Guacamole
Another delicious meal that takes 5 minutes to prepare. Heat the griddle, chuck in five or six whole sardines (which we got here from the lovely Pomona deli on Haverstock Hill), mash up the avocados (this time I’d add a spring onion, fresh green chilli, small crushed garlic clove, handful of fresh coriander and dash of lime juice) and serve with a crisp little gem salad with mustard dressing. Diced tomato can also cut through the creaminess of the fruit – but it’s purely subjective. Avocados have no rules. To drink? Chilled Verdejo.
3. The Posh Starter, or Sharing Plate: Tuna Tartare with Avocado
One of my most-thumbed recipe books is that from Soho tapas bar Barrafina, and this dish has become something of an adopted signature starter when we have guests at this time of year.
Buy 100g of sushi tuna per person and, after removing any fatty bits, carefully cut with a sharp knife into 1cm cubes. Mix with sparing amounts of soy, seasame oil, sesame seeds and dash of lemon juice (taste as you go as the flavour should be light and not acidic). Garnish with chopped coriander.
For the mousse chuck two or three avocados into a food processor with a handful of coriander, some lime juice, 75 mls or so of extra virgin olive oil, a chopped green chilli and seasoning. Serve in the garden with Cotes De Provence on ice. Delicious.
Words & Photos: Stephen Emms
How do you eat yours? Pray tell…