Amazing Avacados

Spring 2011 CSANews Issue 78  |  Posted date : May 06, 2011.Back to list

There are three foods that I eat every day - an orange, yogurt and an avocado.
The avocado gets a bad rap! That's because it is high in fat... about 14.1g-30g per medium to large-sized fruit. What few people realize, however, is that the avocado is high in monounsaturated fat - the good fat. This can help you lose belly fat by lowering cholesterol levels and avoiding the production of the hormone cortisol. Monounsaturated fat is also essential in the production of sex hormones and is considered a brain food.

I combine fat-free Greek yogurt with fresh lime juice and avocado and use it as a salad dressing or a dip for fresh vegetables. I combine the juice from half a lime with 1/2 cup of fat-free Greek yogurt, one soft avocado and one slightly under-ripe one. The under-ripe avocado provides a thicker, chunky texture.

I think that food writer Gaylord Hauser cited the best description of the avocado. He said, "In this single delectable fruit is combined the protein of meat, the fat of butter (but much more wholesome!), the vitamins and minerals of green vegetables, the flavour of nuts, a six-course dinner."

This fruit is under-utilized in cooking and overused in green salads and for making such Mexican classics as guacamole and salsas. Its fatty texture makes avocado an ideal partner for other fatty and heavy ingredients such as cheese, salmon, tuna, lobster and shrimp, potato, sweet potato and bacon. It has an affinity with citrus and tropical fruits such as grapefruit, orange and mango. Tomato also harmonizes with avocado. Cilantro and mint are no doubt its best herb matches. Put a few of these ingredients together and you can create a whole array of new dishes loaded in essential fatty acids. Try serving your guests grilled chicken (from the barbecue) accompanied by a lobster-and-avocado potato salad. Or an avocado-and-shrimp grilled havarti sandwich. After making the sandwich, butter the outside of the bread and dredge it in parmesan. Then pan-fry the grilled cheese in bacon fat. Oops. Sorry. You won't be celebrating the essential fatty acids in this comfort food. But your taste buds will be doin' the Charleston! 

The avocado's luscious fattiness makes it an excellent bridging partner to pair with big, fat white wines from warm climates such as South Africa, Australia and Chile. Hunt for wines high in alcohol. The higher the alcohol, the greater the viscosity (thickness or fattiness) in the wine. This allows the wine's fattiness to match the weight of this same "mouth feel" in avocado.

If the dish highlights citrus fruits, then choose a crisp, dry white such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris. If sweetness is celebrated, then choose an off-dry white to match like Riesling and Gewurztraminer. 

Here are a couple of unusual recipes using avocado. The first is a refreshing soup packed with nutrition, good essential fatty acid, calcium, protein, folic acid, vitamin D, acidophilus and sometimes added probiotics. The second recipe is also loaded with good things and is just downright refreshing and scrumptious.

Lime, Avocado and Cucumber Gazpacho with Cilantro and Mint

Serves 4
  • 3 cups fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave syrup, to taste 
  • 2 large avocados, peeled and pitted 
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded 
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 slender scallions, white parts plus a bit of the green, finely minced 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint 
  • 1/2 jalapeno chili, seeded and chopped 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime 
To Finish: 
  • Finely sliced chives and chive blossoms 
  • Thinly slivered radishes 
  • Dill, mint and cilantro sprigs 
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios or walnuts 
In a food processor or blender, puree until smooth yogurt, avocado and 1/4 of the cucumber. Transfer soup into a bowl. Fold in garlic, scallion, cilantro, mint and jalapeno.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, lime juice and sweetener, if needed. Seed and finely dice the remaining cucumber and add to the soup. Cover and refrigerate until well-chilled. Just before serving, taste and correct the seasonings. Ladle the soup into bowls, then cover the surface with the chives, radishes, herb sprigs and pistachios. 

Wine Suggestion: This recipe is brimming with refreshing acidity from the yogurt and lime juice. Pair this gazpacho with a wine offering equal tanginess. Try Sauvignon Blanc or a bone-dry Riesling.

Key Lime Avocado Pie

Serves 4 to 6
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup pureed avocado (from two large fresh, organic avocados)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 graham cracker crust
  • Plain Greek yogurt (for garnish)
  • Sprig of fresh mint
Combine all ingredients - except crust - in a large mixing bowl; using an electric mixer, beat until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust; chill until set, at least four hours. Garnish with a hefty dollop of fat-free plain or vanilla Greek yogurt and fresh mint. Serve cold.

Wine Suggestion: Choose a white dessert wine with enough sweetness to match, such as a Late Harvest Vidal or Vidal Icewine.