For a country bumpkin from the Midwest, the avocado seemed like an alien species. I found myself considering mankind’s first encounter with this bumpy green fruit and wondering whatever possessed them to think of it as food.
My first culinary encounter with the avocado came while standing in line at a “health food” deli and sandwich bar watching lunch being prepared. With flourish and flair, the cafe owner sliced an avocado, removed it from its rind and splayed it across my liverwurst and bean sprout sandwich. What finesse! Such embellishment of skill and beauty. It was a shame to close the sandwich!
After many years of intent observation and practice in my own kitchen, I feel prepared to share the secrets of avocado preparation.
CHOOSE AN AVOCADO that is not mushy or easy to dent under the press of your finger. It should be soft, yes, but close to firm.
GRIP THE AVOCADO gently on one side with one hand.
CUT THE AVOCADO lengthwise, using a sharp knife (larger than a paring knife but no bigger than a steak knife). The knife should make contact with the pit or seed but not pierce it.
TWIST THE AVOCADO SLIGHTLY to separate the halves and expose the pit.
REMOVE THE PIT. This can be done in a variety of ways but I prefer using a teaspoon to scoop out the pit. Other popular ways include piercing the pit with the blade of a sharp knife and “rocking” it out. Inevitably, I slice my hand.
SLICE THE AVOCADO “MEAT” without removing the skin. For the sandwich with an avocado “fan”, run the knifepoint vertically through the meat, creating thin slices of equal thickness. Use a rather large spoon to scoop out the slices. Place on the open face of a sandwich and splay into a fan shape.
CHOPPED AVOCADO is a delectable addition to any green salad. Simply follow the same instructions as above, making thicker slices vertically. Then repeat horizontally and remove the chunks with a large spoon.
Avocados are higher in potassium than a medium banana. Avocados are a good source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate and copper. Avocados have a high fat content of up to 88% of their total calories. One cup of avocado slices contain about 235 calories.