Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Adorable Avocados


I love the produce section at my local warehouse store. They have restaurant quality fruits and vegetables, and generally better prices than my local supermarket.

I love the variety and colors available. The mini tri-colored Holland peppers are my favorite--like little pepper offspring. Next to them today I spied a 6 pack of avocados for only $4.99. Giving them a squeeze I found my thumb sunk into the flesh just enough to indicate they were just perfect for immediate use. My mind skipped to dinner and I thought of slicing them up with tacos. But that wouldn't use up the entire bag of ripe and ready green goddesses. As I pushed my heavily laden cart into the walk in refrigerator (which was blissful in today's 80 degree heat), I thought about Mother's Day coming up this weekend and an elegant salad came to mind. Two of my favorite things are gazpacho soup and guacamole. I don't know if it is the combination of the cool fresh vegetables and piquant Latin flavors or the overall feeling of lightness when indulging in these fresh and healthy starters. I decided to combine them for a lovely layered salad that is a visual feast for a celebratory table.

You can use little footed dessert bowls, but clear "low ball" style glasses work well too. You may even layer the ingredients into a glass trifle bowl for a great addition to a potluck buffet.

I try to make this dish a bit healthier by garnishing with baked plantain chips, but you may also serve with the ever popular and naturally gluten free corn tortilla chips.
Say Ole and enjoy your day with mom.

Avocado and Cucumber Gazpacho Salad with Plantain Chips and Jalapeno Cream

3 English Cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 orange Holland pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow Holland pepper, seeded and diced
2 medium vine ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
2 medium ripe, firm avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh chives
1/2 cup chopped scallions
¼ cup chopped, fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
kosher salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar

For Jalapeno Cream:
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded
1 clove garlic
¼ cup cilantro, packed
1 teaspoon lime juice

For Plantain Chips:
1 large ripe plantain
½ Tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt

In a large mixing bowl, place cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and avocados. Pour lemon and lime juice over avocado mixture and toss gently to coat. In a small bowl or shaker bottle, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over salad and toss gently. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

To serve, spoon into individual glass bowls. Top with a dollop of Jalapeno cream and garnish with 2 or 3 plantain chips. Pass additional jalapeno cream and plantain chips on the side.

For Jalapeno Cream:
In a blender or food processor, process all ingredients until well blended. Place in a covered bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

For plantain chips:
Line a cookie sheet with non-stick foil or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Slice plantains 1/8-inch thick and place in single layer on cookie sheets. Brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle tops of plantains with salt. Broil on high on top oven rack for 5-6 minutes or until they begin to brown. Turn oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Cool on rack for 10 minutes, remove with a spatula.

Serves 6-8

1 comment:

  1. What a healthy and delicious recipe! I look forward to making it - and sharing it with my family! Thanks!