Dining In Celebrating the Versatile Avocado
By Karen Schulz
There is a lot to talk about when it comes to the very versatile and nutritious stone fruit, known as the avocado. I’ve even read somewhere it is actually a berry, but no matter what you want to call it, there is no denying, the avocado has worked it’s way into the esteemed “super food” category, and is worthy of the distinct honor bestowed upon it with July 31st being National Avocado Day.
Not only are avocados delicious, but they are packed with nearly 20 vitamins and minerals associated with health benefits ranging from lowering cholesterol to lowering the risk of certain cancers, and supporting bone health. They also have monounsaturated fatty acids, which reduce inflammation, and are loaded with fiber, great for intestinal health. The list goes on and on, but when something tastes so good, I do not need a list of healthy reasons to eat it.
Perhaps an avocado’s versatility is its greatest asset. Obviously, guacamole is a major go-to snack, but I use it equally — for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At breakfast, just toast up Ezekiel bread to make avocado toast. Layer some slices on the toast and sprinkle with a little pink salt or, for a more exotic flavor, you can sprinkle cumin and a squeeze of lemon juice. If you really want to jazz it up, start with some harissa, then layer your avocado, followed by feta cheese, fried egg, and a drizzle of honey. Diced avocado is the perfect addition to fluffy scrambled egg burritos with some hot sauce to start the day.
My favorite summer sandwich growing up was cucumber, lettuce, and fresh garden tomatoes with mayo, salt and pepper on toasted white bread. Now I use potato bread and add avocado, which really takes it to the next level. Everyone loves this sandwich and the ingredients are always on hand. Sometimes catching an avocado at the moment of perfect ripeness is hard to do because they ripen so quickly. The trick to having perfectly ripe avocados at the ready is to buy them at varying stages of ripeness so there is always one ready to use when you need it.
Finally, my new favorite way to use avocado is in this super-easy tuna tartare recipe. I was intimidated to try it, but I promise, it’s a no-brainer. It is the perfect light summertime snack or makes for an elegant appetizer any time of year. I actually served it last Christmas. The key is to get very fresh sushi-grade tuna, which can be found at June & Ho, Port Chester Seafood, or Daido, the Japanese market in White Plains. Definitely give it a try, I guarantee it will become one of your go-to recipes for picnics, parties, or just because it is delicious.