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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Recipe: Caramelized Avocado

Caramelized Avocado
by Victoria Challancin
At first the idea of caramelizing an unctuous avocado might seem like gilding the lily, but who am I to shy away from such an appealing flavor boost, gilded lily or not?  When I first encountered the idea of caramelizing avocado in a newsletter from the California Avocado Board, I knew I had struck gold. The recipe was for Baby Head Lettuce Salad with Caramelized California Avocados with Roquefort-Herb Vinaigrette and Bacon Confit.  Whew!  The name alone is a real mouthful.  Yet when I mulled over this recipe in my mind, I could see where this mouthful was headed--right into my own!

As Culinary Producer on Food Network's Season II of Mexican Made Easy, one of the recipes that the chef, Marcela Valladolid, made included Caramelized Avocados, an idea whose time has truly come.  You can watch Marcela caramelize avocados on this video.

For this recipe it is best to use a firm, barely ripe avocado. The one I had on hand today was a little too ripe--perfect for guacamole, but fragile for cooking.  The resulting look is a bit ragged when compared to when using a firmer piece of fruit.  Note that you really only want to coat the pan with oil--you aren't frying the avocados, just providing enough heat to caramelize the sugar.  A nice variation to this recipe would be to add chile powder to the sugar before caramelizing.  Now that I think of it, why not try a bit of Ras el Hanout or Dukkah?  I definitely will and will let you know how they turn out!

Caramelized Avocados
(Adapted ever so slightly from a California Avocado Board recipe)

1 Haas avocado, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 12 thick slices or halves, depending on use
1 Tablespoons sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil for greasing pan

Grease a small non-stick frying pan lightly, with only enough olive oil to coat bottom of pan.  Heat over medium heat. 

For Avocado Halves:
Sprinkle one side of avocado halves with sugar, salt, and pepper.  Add avocado halves to the heated pan. Cook until sugar has caramelized to a golden color, about 2 minutes.  Turn gently with a spatula and cook for about 30 seconds more, just enough to heat through.  Remove to a plate and set aside.

For Avocado Slices:
Sprinkle one side of the avocado slices with sugar, salt, and pepper.  Add the slices to the heated pan.  Cook until sugar has caramelized to a golden color, 1 to 2 minutes.  Gently turn the slices with a spatula, sprinkle the second side with sugar, salt, and pepper.  Cook for about 1 minute or until sugar has caramelized (this step is optional--you can simply turn and heat for 30 seconds if you prefer not to caramelize the second side).  Remove to a plate and set aside.


Victoria Challancin
Flavors of the Sun International Cooking School
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved


Dimah said...

This looks absolutely lovely! great idea!

jennifer rose said...

I just tried them, and they are great! Never mind the naysayers who just couldn't get their heads around the concept. However, I did find that cutting slabs of avocado worked best, because it maximized the surface contact with the caramelizing process.