avocado 101 (2)

  • Early start

    This buttery fruit first made it to Australia in 1840 when it was planted in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. Although the first commercial crop was in the 1930s, demand didn’t take off until the US troops stationed here in WWII raised awareness of it. The 1970s saw it grace the menus of sophisticated hostesses as an entrée; half an avocado with vinaigrette pooled in the hole. Nowadays, its mashed and fed to babies and is found in the fruit bowls of most Australian households.

  • Hot for Hass

    There are five main varieties of avocados in Australia: Hass, Shepard, Reed, Sharwil and Wurtz. Hass accounts for 80 per cent of avocado production in Australia, while Shepard makes up 10 per cent, leaving only 10 per cent between the other three varieties. Unlike Hass avocados, the Shepard variety doesn’t go brown once cut, making their buttery flesh ideal in salads.

  • Goodness me

    Avocados are an absolute treasure trove of nutrients. They contain 60 per cent more potassium than bananas, are a great source of fibre, folate, vitamins K, E and C, and are high in monounsaturated fat (that’s the good fat), which makes you feel fuller for longer!

  • Let it rip(e)

    When selecting avocados, apply gentle pressure to the stem end — if it’s ripe, it should yield a little. Try not to squeeze the middle as the flesh bruises easily. To ripen avocados, store them at room temperature not in the fridge. If you need to speed up the process, place them in a brown paper bag with a banana or apple, as these fruits release a plant hormone that assists in ripening. Once an avocado is at its ideal ripeness, store it in the fridge for up to three days.

  • Match made in heaven

    Avocados go perfectly with lime, lemon, coriander, salmon, garlic, corn, tomato, chicken, bacon and prawns.

CHILLED COLOMBIAN AVOCADO SOUP

avocado 101 (4)

SERVES 6 (AS A STARTER)
PREP 15 MINUTES (PLUS COOLING AND REFRIGERATION)
COOK 10 MINUTES

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cups chicken stock
300ml light thickened cream
3 avocados
¼ cup lime juice
1 corn cob, husk and silk removed
1 tomato, seeded, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add stock. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Stir in cream. Cool for 20 minutes.
  2. Roughly chop 2½ avocados. Wrap remaining avocado half in plastic wrap to prevent it from browning. Place chopped avocado, lime and stock mixture in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Season well with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl. Cover. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until cold.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons of remaining oil in a small frying pan over high heat. Cook corn, turning, for 6 minutes or until charred. Transfer to a board. Stand for 2 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Using a sharp
    knife, cut kernels from cob. Transfer to a bowl. Finely dice reserved avocado. Add to corn with tomato and coriander. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve soup topped with salsa and drizzled with remaining oil.

NUTRITION: (per serve) 1777kJ; 33.8g fat;
10.9g sat fat; 5.3g protein; 6.6g carbs;
2.7g fibre; 35mg chol; 661mg sodium.

PAPRIKA PRAWN SKEWERS WITH AVOCADO CAULIFLOWER MASH

avocado 101 (3)

SERVE 6
PREP 20 MINUTES
COOK 15 MINUTES

YOU’LL NEED 8 SMALL PRE-SOAKED BAMBOO SKEWERS OR METAL SKEWERS.

400g cream delight potatoes, peeled, chopped
400g cauliflower, cut into florets
2 garlic cloves, peeled, quartered
1 avocado, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
24 large green king prawns, peeled
(tails intact), deveined
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
1 bunch broccolini, steamed
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  1. Place potato, cauliflower and garlic in a medium saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Return to pan. Add avocado, lemon juice and ½ the oil. Mash until smooth. Season well with salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, combine remaining oil and paprika in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add prawns. Toss to coat. Thread prawns and lemon wedges onto 8 skewers.
  3. Heat a chargrill pan or barbecue grill over medium-high heat. Cook skewers for 2 minutes each side or until prawns have turned pink in colour and are just cooked through, and lemon wedges are charred.
  4. Serve skewers with mash and broccolini and sprinkled with parsley.

NUTRITION: (per serve) 1588kJ; 19.4g fat;
3.4g sat fat; 30.6g protein; 17.4g carbs;
5.8g fibre; 170mg chol; 545mg sodium.

AVOCADO CORNBREAD

avocado 101 (5)

SERVES 6 (AS A SIDE)
PREP 10 MINUTES (PLUS 5 MINUTESSTANDING)
COOK 55 MINUTES

1 avocado, peeled, chopped
1¼ cups polenta
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon Mexican chilli powder

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/170°C fan-forced. Grease a 5cm-deep, 11cm x 21cm (base) loaf pan. Line base and sides of pan with baking paper.
  2. Process avocado in a food processor until smooth. Add polenta, flour, buttermilk, sage, salt, sugar, eggs and chilli powder. Process until just smooth and combined. Pour into prepared pan. Smooth surface.
  3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of loaf comes out clean (cover loosely with foil if overbrowning). Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Turn, top-side up, onto a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve cornbread warm.

NUTRITION: (per serve) 1386kJ; 9.7g fat;
2.5g sat fat; 9.8g protein; 49.9g carbs;
2.6g fibre; 66mg chol; 616mg sodium.

 AVOCADO PESTO PASTA WITH HOT-SMOKED SALMON

avocado 101 (1)

SERVES 4
PREP 10 MINUTES
COOK 10 MINUTES

375g dried wide fettuccine
3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons walnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
¼ cup lemon juice
2 avocados
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
100g baby rocket
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
185g peppered hot-smoked salmon,
skin removed, flaked
Fresh basil leaves, to serve

  1. Cook pasta following packet directions. Drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking water. Cover pasta to keep warm.
  2. Place basil, garlic, walnuts, lemon rind and juice into a food processor. Process until finely chopped. oughly chop 1 avocado. Add chopped avocado, oil and 2 tablespoons reserved cooking water to basil mixture. Process until smooth and combined (if mixture is too thick, add remaining tablespoon of cooking liquid). Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Combine pasta, pesto, rocket, tomato and salmon in a large bowl. Slice remaining avocado. Serve pasta topped with sliced avocado and basil.

NUTRITION: (per serve) 3123kJ; 36.7g fat;
6.9g sat fat; 28.8g protein; 71.6g carbs;
6.5g fibre; 36mg chol; 251mg sodium.