Avocados are plentiful here in California, and since we moved here, they are appearing with greater frequency in our kitchen. Avocados are the pear-shaped fruit of the avocado tree, and are grown in temperate climates around the world. California avocados were originally introduced from Mexico and can be found year round in the markets (or trees, if you should be lucky enough to have your own.)
Versatile and packed with nutrients the avocado is a healthy staple in the kitchen. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber and high in monounsaturated fat. Avocados are rich in potassium, zinc, and B vitamins, as well as vitamins C, E and K. Their smooth texture and subtle flavor make the avocado a perfect base for dips, fillings, drinks and even ice cream.
Combined with other textures the avocado adds a distinctively creamy, cool and rich component to a dish. My favorite way to eat avocado is in salads or on toast, where the cool, creaminess of the avocado compliments the crunchy, savory textures of the salad or the dryness of the bread.
Avocado Bruschetta with Balsamic Vinegar
2 slices peasant bread (pain paysan) or sourdough
1 large garlic clove
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (60 ml.) balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
One ripe but firm Hass avocado
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven grill or griddle pan
Smash garlic clove with side of chef knife. Rub garlic over bread. Brush lightly with olive oil. Toast bread in oven or on griddle, turning once, until golden brown.
Prepare balsamic vinegar reduction:
In a small saucepan bring balsamic vinegar and lemon juice to a boil. Simmer until reduced by half. Set aside to cool.
Trim tip of avocado. Run knife vertically around center of avocado, cutting into flesh until knife meets the pit. Gently twist the avocado open and remove pit. Carefully remove skin, keeping avocado intact. Slice avocado horizontally in 1/4″ slices.
Fan avocado slices on bread. Brush with balsamic syrup. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.