Friday, February 09, 2007

Alligator Pears

(Some Friday Food Blogging).

The best avocado is a a ripe one, and they fall from the tree not-quite-ripe. The best that I've had have been either from Southern California (especially around Escondido) or Central Mexico. But not all of us are fortunate enough to live near enough an avocado tree to catch one at that optimal moment just before falling, so we have to make do with fruit that has been picked early enough to travel great distances. In Europe, we get serviceable ones from Chile or Kenya, depending upon the season, but I've never had an edible avocado from either Florida (over-watered) or Israel (hard, under-flavored). In general, those with the darker and more reptilian skin will have more flavor than those with smoother skin, and I'd advise staying away from any that are rock-hard, as they'll spoil before they ripen, while those with some tenderness have the potential to ripen at home. But this process happens to require one special piece of equipment: the brown paper bag. Yep, wrapping the fruit inside a brown paper bag and storing it at the back of a counter at room temperature for a day or two should do it.

I'll eat almost anything with an avocado in or around it, but like it best as the simplest Guacamole -- mashed with a fork (never puréed) and mixed with just a bit of cumin powder, salt, lime juice, and flaked dry red chilies (I use New Mexico chilies). Some people will add tomatoes, roasted onions, cilantro, sour cream, etc. to this, but I think that that runs the risk of turning a precious avocado into a 1960's Better Homes & Gardens dip. And if I'm ever that nostalgic, I'd just as soon ruin my blood sugar level with a hot slice of pineapple upside-down cake, or even that fruit salad with the little marshmallows in it. Nope, an avocado has such a rich and complex enough flavor on its own, that a mimimalist approach is required.

No comments: