An A(vo)ffair Of The Heart

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South Africans love avocados. For most of us, it was love at first bite, often as babies, and they’re still desperately desired as adults. It’s been a love affair for the ages.

Rather excitingly, June is World Avocado Month as decreed by the World Avocado Organization (WAO), and not only is South Africa a member; but we are also a major global producer of the fruit, so there are lots to celebrate.

The great news is that South African avocados are in season right now, so we can have our avo toast and guacamole too! The creamy green-skinned varieties are available from March until October and the nutty dark-skinned from March until November.

Avocado Month with local favourites

Like bread and milk, avocados are a necessity in most mzansi shopping carts. Use your haul to salute World Avocado Month with local favourites like avo and atchar, curry and avo sambal or braai meat, and mouth-watering Avocado Salad with Roast Tomatoes, Baby Corn, and Spring Onions. At the very least, serve up a smile with our Deluxe Avocado BLT.

You can even let your taste buds dance to some glorious new international avocado vibes. Maybe stay on the African continent for an Ethiopian spris, which is a refreshing layered drink of papaya blitzed with a little water to thin it out, followed by avocado puréed with fresh lime juice and salt, topped with mango pulp.

Go full Mexican fiesta, if you like, using guacamole seasoned with chilli, lime, and cilantro to accompany everything from meat and fish dishes to soups. Or stuff avo halves with ceviche like the Peruvians; with chicken, tuna, crab, or ham and mayo like the Chileans; and whipped it with lime juice and sugar like the Brazilians.

Whenever your taste buds tempt you, add an avo, because their monounsaturated fat content may help to reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease when used to replace saturated and trans fats in a balanced diet. Avocados are also naturally cholesterol-free, an added bonus to heart health.

Avocado salad with Roast Tomatoes, Baby Corn, & Spring Onions

Serves 6 – 8 

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
For the roasted tomatoes

  • 10 ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 150 g cocktail tomatoes.
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) avocado or olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 ml (1 tbsp) crushed garlic
  • Pinch of dried mixed herbs
For the salad
  • Large handful rocket
  • 3 avocados, peeled, stoned, and cut into quarters
  • 2 punnets of baby corn, char-grilled or roasted
The dressing 
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) avocado or olive oil
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) balsamic vinegar
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 4 – 6 spring onions, finely chopped 
Method

1.       Preheat the oven to 200°C

2.       Place the cocktail tomatoes on a baking tray. Roast for 8-10 minutes, or until softened, but do not overcook, they should hold their shape and not be mushy.

3.       For the salad: place the avocado quarters on a flat platter, arrange the tomato halves and chargrilled corn on top and scatter over the rocket.

4.       Whisk the dressing ingredients together.

5.       Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

Deluxe Avocado BLT

BLT – bacon, lettuce, and tomato, a classic sandwich combo is given an update by adding avocado for a truly impressive brunch meal.

Serves 4 – 6

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the sandwich
  • 1 ciabatta loaf, sliced in half horizontally
  • 2 large ripe avocados, peeled and stoned
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 small head of butter lettuce, rinse and pat dry
  • 200 g (approx. 8 slices lean back bacon), cooked & crumbled
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Avocado or olive oil, to drizzle
  • Microgreens for garnish
For the avo-li dressing
  • 120 g (½ cup) mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 small ripe avocado, peeled and stoned
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated or crushed
  • 15 – 30 ml (1 -2 tbsp) lemon juice
Method:

1.       Start by making the avo-li, place all the ingredients in the jug of a stick blender, and whizz until smooth.

2.       Lay the ciabatta halves on a platter and spread liberally with the avo-li.  Arrange lettuce leaves and tomato slices on the bread, and top with avocado slices and bacon pieces.

3.       Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the oil.

4.       Serve cut into wedges with extra avo-li dressing.

For further information and recipes, visit www.avocado.co.za, like us on Facebook @iloveavocadoSA, and follow us on Instagram @iloveavossa