Friday, August 14, 2009

Making more than guac from avocados

Excerpts from an Associated Press article by Michele Kayal posted 8/13/09

Avocado Fries are warm, tasty and a more unusual use for your avocados ready for eating. Recipe to follow.

And while nearly 500 varieties of avocados are grown around the world, Americans tend to favor just a few, mostly Hass or Hass-like varieties.

But if you grew up in a tropical climate, you might prefer what are called "green-skinned" avocados, varieties such as Simmonds or Monroe or any of the dozens of other varieties coming from Florida.

These avocados have a smooth skin that remains green when ripe, and they can weigh up to 3 pounds. Green-skinned avocados also have less fat and more moisture than Hass, giving them a milder flavor and a lighter, less unctuous texture.

These qualities make them well suited to sweet preparations, such as the ice cream favored by Brazilians or milk shakes enjoyed in the Philippines.

"Hispanics love to chop them into cubes and put them on top of a creamy tomato soup or squash soup," says Mary Ostlund, marketing director for Brooks Tropicals, a grower and the largest shipper of Florida avocados.

The company promotes its avocados as "SlimCados," a "lite" fruit, with fewer calories and less fat than avocados from California.

To tell when avocados are ripe, give them a little squeeze. They should yield to slight pressure, but not be mushy. Unripe avocados should be stored at room temperature, then moved to the refrigerator when ripe. They will keep there for two to three days.

And while you can spend $10 on an avocado slicer, it's just as easy to run a knife around the fruit lengthwise, then twist it slightly to separate the halves. Remove the pit with a spoon.

Pureed avocados hold up well in the freezer. The California Avocado Commission recommends adding a tablespoon of lemon juice for each two pureed avocados.


Canola oil, for frying
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese-style) breadcrumbs
2 firm-ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges

Heat the oven to 200 degrees.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high, heat 1 1/2 inches of oil until it reaches 375 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.

Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl whisk together the flour and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Place the eggs in a second shallow bowl, and the panko in a third.

One wedge at a time, dredge the avocados through the flour, shaking off any excess, then through the egg and finally through the panko. Set the wedges aside in a single layer.

A quarter of the avocado wedges at a time, fry until deep golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer the wedges to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Transfer the drained fries to an oven-safe plate and keep warm in the oven while cooking the remaining wedges. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Serves 6.

---- Recipe from the April 2009 issue of Sunset magazine