Avocados are perfect any where, any time, with anything. As a resident of South Florida, I use our local fruits, sometimes called alligator pears, constantly. My first run-in with avocados, though, came years ago when I worked for a 2,000-room hotel in Germany. Just days after I started as the new Chef Garde Manger (the person who makes the beautiful ice sculptures and arranges the buffet), 1,000 avocados arrived. My job? Sort through them to find 750 perfectly ripe fruits. I then had to cut them into halves, rub them with lime juice, and make a seafood stuffing to fill the cavities.
But I am not deterred. Even after staring down 1,000, I still crave avocados for their creamy texture and vibrant green color. When I’m in a hurry, I spread whole-grain toast or an English muffin with ripe avocado in place of really fattening butter or cream cheese and sprinkle on a bit of hot sauce, lime juice and salt. My favorite brunch item is eggs scrambled with jalapeños, green onions and tomatoes, topped with chunks of avocado. Sandwiches of any kind with sliced avocados are amazing, especially grilled cheese or a spicy tuna melt. When I want a quick and comforting dinner, I make short-grain brown rice or quinoa with black beans topped with chopped avocado, red onion, Cheddar cheese and a dollop of Greek yogurt. It’s so comforting and satisfying. You can also add grilled chicken or shrimp as a topper here.
Then there are the avocado recipes that seem bizarre: shakes, ice cream, crème brulée, pudding and cheesecake. I’ll keep an open mind, but if you’ll please pass just the hot sauce, lime and salt, I’ll have everything I need.
—By Chef Steven Petusevsky