Pascale's Kitchen: The Many Wonders of Avocados

Avocado season has officially begun and a number of recipes require very little preparation.

Guacamole (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Whenever I walk through the shuk during avocado season and see huge piles of avocados piled high, I’m thrown back in time to my mother’s kitchen, which was always full of glass jars with avocado pits at different stages of development.
My late mother was a master at getting avocado pits to sprout. She also knew how to insert toothpicks so the pits wouldn’t touch the water below as they sat on the windowsill of our small balcony.
My mother, however, prepared only one dish with avocado: little sandwiches made from fresh bread she’d just baked, with harissa spread on top. She would slice the avocado thinly, squeeze a little lemon juice on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add this on top of the harissa.
I, on the other hand, have been enjoying avocado for years in a variety of spreads, sauces, salads and sushi. Avocado is a nutritional fruit rich in potassium, vitamin E, antioxidants, vitamin K and healthy fats. Some vegans call avocado “butter from nature” because it can easily replace butter or cream when used in cakes, salads, ice cream and mousse. The results are surprising and tasty.
Now that avocado season has officially begun, I’ve chosen a number of avocado recipes that require very little preparation, are aesthetically pleasing and, of course, are very tasty.
Use only avocados that have smooth skin, no blemishes and are the right color for their type (green or black).
Store avocados outside the fridge until they are ripe and ready to be eaten. Once they are ripe, you can keep them in the fridge.
If you want to speed up the ripening process, wrap avocados in brown paper or newspaper and store them near fruit such as apples or bananas.
If you have leftover avocado, squeeze lemon juice on the pieces to prevent them from oxidizing or blackening.
In Persian cuisine, it’s popular to mash a ripe banana and mix it with avocado and then season with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Makes 4-6 servings
3-4 ripe avocados
Juice from one lemon
1 large tomato, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, chopped into tiny pieces
Salt and pepper
2 sprigs of mint or parsley, chopped finely (optional)
1 avocado, sliced
Mint leaves
Cut avocados in half and remove pit. Squeeze lemon juice on top and mash with a fork. Add tomato and onion and mix. If you’re using mint or parsley, this is the time to add it. Mix and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Transfer to a large bowl and decorate with avocado slices and mint leaves. Serve directly or store in fridge. To prevent blackening, sprinkle with lemon juice and cover with plastic wrap and then another cover on top of that.
Makes 2-3 servings
1 red pepper, cut into cubes
½ lettuce, cut into small pieces
¼ cabbage, cut into thin strips
1 carrot, cut into cubes
4-5 radishes, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced into rings
Juice from 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ ripe avocado, sliced
100 gr. tuna in oil, drained and crumbled
1 hard-boiled egg, cut into quarters or eighths
In a medium serving bowl, layer all the ingredients by color. Sprinkle a little lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper on top. Then add avocado slices, hard-boiled egg and tuna. Season again and serve.
In vegan cuisine, it’s very important to mix vegetables with legumes and grains. I always try to keep pots of cooked legumes and roasted vegetables in the fridge so that I can prepare a tasty dish in no time at all.
Makes 2 servings
5 broccoli florets, steamed
1-2 zucchini, roasted
1 cup green broad beans, steamed
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 onion, sliced
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
1 cup chickpeas, cooked and drained
Juice from one lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ tsp. ground chili pepper
Serving suggestion:
3 Tbsp. raw tehina
Place raw, steamed and roasted vegetables on a platter, paying attention to colors and textures. Season with salt, pepper and chili pepper. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve with tehina.
You’ll probably have lots of little pieces of vegetables left over after preparing the above recipes, so here’s an idea for what to do with them so they don’t go to waste.
Take a number of tortillas and spread them with guacamole, vegetables, avocado slices, tuna, eggs (or any combination). If you have leftover chicken schnitzel, you can cut them into strips and add them, too. Roll up the tortilla and cut into two pieces.
This is a great dish that doesn’t require much work.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.