MY LOVE AFFAIR with the avocado began 24 years ago. It’s easy to remember the date because my husband and I were on our honeymoon when the obsession hit. This new love entered my culinary life in Mexico City, and by the time we got to Puerto Vallarta, I was hooked.
It was easy to succumb, Avocados were everywhere, from the markets to almost every plate of food we were served. Between my eagerness to please my new husband, an avocado-lover from way back, and the onslaught of the thing, I gave in and tried some.
Love at first bite, enough said. Silky, fatty and light at the same time—you all know what I’m talking about—avocado instantly became a fave.
It’s been a love that hasn’t faded. Of course, I’ve made vats of guacamole, but where avocado has really made its mark on my table is as a salad ingredient. Avocado plays so well off of sharp flavors, like citrus, vinegar and spices. I leave a love of avocado toast to others; it’s fine, but what I really like is pairing avocados with strong partners. Here are a few of my ideas to add to your own avocado repertoire.
Avocado, Shrimp and Orange Salad: My favorite hot-weather salad main course. Chunks of avocado mixed with orange slices, steamed or boiled shrimp. Diced sweet onion and a dressing of fresh orange juice, olive oil, chopped chives and salt and pepper. If the orange juice isn’t that sweet, add a little sugar.
Avocado, Spicy Shrimp and Grilled Corn Salad: Rub peeled and deveined raw shrimp with a spice rub and oil. Grill until cooked through. Grill a few ears of corn using whichever method you like and cut the kernels off the cob as soon as the corn is cool enough to handle. Mix the grilled shrimp with diced avocado, the corn kernels, diced sweet onion and/or sweet red bell pepper. Add herbs as desired. Cooked black beans are a great addition too, but rinse thoroughly before adding, Dress with some apple-cider vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper.
Chopped Avocado and Green Salad: This is a another nod to my husband, who has a much greater love of the green salad than I do. He loves a traditional green salad, me not so much, so I arrived at this compromise. I chop up a mix of bitter-ish greens—radicchio, escarole and the like. I cut the avocado similarly, into small matchsticks, the exact size and shape don’t matter much, and then I mix with a balsamic vinaigrette. Pair with a grilled steak and you’ve got dinner.
—Stephanie Witt Sedgwick
LittleBird “Stephanie Cooks” has good ideas for dinner more than once a week but she shares them with us on Mondays.