Friday, April 4, 2008
How To Make Avocados Better Without Really Trying
Just like an underrated actor, some ingredients have a way of getting typecast. There is no better example of this than the avocado. I think very few people look at the avocado in their kitchen (because they should never go in the fridge) and think anything but "Guacamole tonight!" Sure, this delicious dip is an excellent showcase for the flavor and texture of the luscious avocado, but it hardly does the versatility of this delicious fruit justice. It's also a perfect topping for sandwiches, a wonderful emulsifier for dressings, and certainly my favorite part of any salad.
That's why, when I was offered some avocados leftover from a photo shoot, I jumped at the chance to bring one home. I was then, of course, faced with the dubious task of figuring out what to make that wasn't incredibly cliché (like, say... guacamole). After giving it some thought I was torn between one of my favorite sandwiches and a simple avocado and bean salad. It turns out that one avocado is actually more than enough to make both dishes, so I went for both. The sandwich was just toasted whole grain bread smeared liberally with chipotle mayo, a nice neat stack of bacon, and cool, tender slices of avocado. It was quick, easy, and perfectly balanced.
The salad was something I'd been eager to try for some time, since avocado is more often than not paired with black beans. I decided to pair it with one of my favorite beans, the soft, plump, and mild flavored cannellini. I threw in some chorizo, one finely chopped jalapeño, half an avocado and dressed the whole thing with lime juice and olive oil. It was simple and light with really clean flavors, and actually made a great companion dish for my sandwich. I served it at room temperature, but certainly you can chill it in the fridge for a bit, or even add some tomatoes and cilantro and make it a bean salsa (it would look great with blue corn chips in particular). Since the sandwich was basically just an assembly job, here's what I came up with for the salad:
Avocado and White Bean Salad
1 16 oz can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup cooked chorizo, chopped
1/2 an avocado, chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil (to taste, but about 2 Tbsp)
1. Combine beans, chorizo and avocado in a bowl and drizzle with lime juice (this will keep avocado from going brown) and stir to combine. Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and serve. Enjoy!