We do most of our grocery shopping for the week either Saturday or Sunday. That means that by the end of the week our fridge and pantry start to look pretty empty. I like this cycle because it means going shopping again for fresh and exciting produce for the following week. I usually enjoy having a salad along with my dinner main course when we stay home. Trying to make a salad for dinner last Friday was a challenge. Upon opening my fridge I only saw things that I did not think matched well for salad. However, there were a few promising ingredients among them: a bunch of parsley, a recently harvested sweet onion, a couple of fresh green cayenne chili and a jar of Spanish capers. On the kitchen counter I had two beautifully ripened Hass avocados which I “discovered” after I moved to the US.
The reason I say ‘discovered’ is because avocados in Brazil were never eaten in savory dishes. The way Brazilians enjoy avocados may scare Mexicans or Americans. In my home country, they’re blended with sugar and milk or cream and made into either an ice cream or served as a kind of thick sweet creamy soup with the consistency of oatmeal that’s eaten with a spoon. It’s an acquired taste that I was never really able to acquire. My neighbors used to have a couple of avocado trees in their backyard. These trees where immense and prolific with branches that would reach over the fence toward our own backyard. My mum hated avocados and especially these beautiful trees when the fruit started to drop and crash into our backyard. What a mess! Our chickens feasted on them but there were so many fruits falling off the trees between January and March that they could hardly keep up! We used some of the left-over fallen avocados to feed our pigs. What a waste!
I learned to enjoy avocados here in the US first by eating guacamole and then I pretty much went on adding it to everything: sandwiches, salads or, like in Colombia, on top of a warm bowl of rice seasoned with a good olive oil and salt: yum! With regards to flavor and texture I would say that fully ripened avocados are creamy, buttery, floral and nutty. They melt in your mouth just like a delicious chocolate truffle. The fruit’s supposed to contain “good fat” that’s packed in monounsaturated fats. As you can see, the avocado is versatile. This salad incorporates various textures and flavors. It’s crunchy, creamy, sour, sweet, nutty, pungent and savory. The crunchiness and pungency come from the onions and fresh green cayenne peppers. Don’t worry! This pepper is not spicy! The creaminess comes from the avocados, of course, with more flavors and texture from the rest of the ingredients.
Here’s how to make this salad:
Crunchy Avocado Salad
2 medium sized ripe Hass avocado
½ bunch chopped parsley
½ small onion cut into slices rinsed in cold water for a minute or so
1 tsp capers with 1 tsp brine
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (I like the brand name Regina – to me it has perfect acidity)
1 and ½ green whole fresh cayenne* wrinkled peppers cut in rounds
Fresh black pepper
A long drizzle of a good olive oil
Just toss everything together, taste to adjust flavors and voilà!
*I was told at the market I shopped that this pepper is green cayenne pepper and it is not spicy when green. I am not sure if the name is correct. In any case here is a pic of the pepper used in this salad. Write me if you have more information about this delicious pepper.
Pablo Picasso “Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.”