An a(vo)ffair of the heart!
South Africans love avocados. For most of us, it was love at first bite, often as babies, and they’re still desperately desired as adults. It’s a love affair for the ages.
Rather excitingly, June is World Avocado Month as decreed by the World Avocado Organization (WAO), and not only is South Africa a member, we are also a major global producer of the fruit, so there’s lots to celebrate.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack or shake, avos are always on our minds. Research conducted last year across all provinces reveals that South Africans are avo purists, with most enjoying avocados in salads, on toast and on their own! We love an avo for what it is – no messing about needed for us to add an avo, although we’ll never say no to an avo on the side of a main meal, or on a pizza, burger or vetkoek either.
Great news is that South African avocados are in season right now, so we can have our avo toast and guacamole too! The creamy green-skinned avo varieties are available from March until October and the nutty dark-skinned avos from March until November.
Like bread and milk, avocados are a necessity in most mzansi shopping carts. Use your haul to salute World Avocado Month with local favourites like avo and atchar, curry and avo sambal or braai meat and mouth-watering Avocado Salad with Roast Tomatoes, Baby Corn and Spring Onions. At the very least, serve up a smile with our Deluxe Avocado BLT.
You can even let your tastebuds dance to some glorious new international avocado vibes. Maybe stay on the African continent for an Ethiopian spris, which is a refreshing layered drink of papaya blitzed with a little water to thin it out, followed by avocado puréed with fresh lime juice and salt, topped with mango pulp.
Go full Mexican fiesta, if you like, using guacamole seasoned with chilli, lime and cilantro to accompany everything from meat and fish dishes to soups. Or stuff avo halves with ceviche like the Peruvians; with chicken, tuna, crab or ham and mayo like the Chileans; and whipped it with lime juice and sugar like the Brazilians.
Whenever your tastebuds tempt you, add an avo, because their monounsaturated fat content may help to reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease when used to replace saturated and trans fats in a balanced diet. Avocados are also naturally cholesterol free, an added bonus in heart health.
Deluxe Avocado BLT
BLT – bacon, lettuce and tomato, a classic sandwich combo is given an update by adding an avocado for a truly impressive brunch meal.
- Serves 4 – 6
- Preparation time: 20 minutes
- Cooking time: 10 minutes
For the sandwich
- 1 ciabatta loaf, sliced in half horizontally
- 2 large ripe avocados, peeled and stoned
- 4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
- 1 small head butter lettuce, rinse and pat dry
- 200 g (approx. 8 slices lean back bacon), cooked & crumbled
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Avocado or olive oil, to drizzle
- Microgreens for garnish
For the avo-li dressing
- 120 g (½ cup) mayonnaise, homemade or store bought
- 1 small ripe avocado, peeled and stoned
- 1 clove garlic, grated or crushed
- 15 – 30 ml (1 -2 tbsp) lemon juice
- Start by making the avo-li, place all the ingredients in the jug of a stick blender and whizz until smooth.
- Lay the ciabatta halves on a platter and spread liberally with the avo-li. Arrange lettuce leaves and tomato slices on the bread, and top with avocado slices and bacon pieces.
- Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the oil.
- Serve cut into wedges with extra avo-li dressing.