It's avocado season

Avocados: Guacamole adds zest to Mexican dishes, but it's also good as a vegetable dip.

January 23, 2000|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,Universal Press Syndicate

With two peak seasons a year -- January and June through August -- avocados offer twice as many chances for fans to enjoy guacamole, served in Mexican cuisine as a salad or side dish, or as a garnish for tacos, burritos, enchiladas or fajitas.

Don't attempt to make authentic Mexican guacamole without fully ripe avocados. If they're still firm when you buy them, put them with a ripe apple or banana into a plastic bag, twist it closed, and leave in a warm place for two or three days. The avocados are ready for mashing when they feel butter-soft but not mushy.

Keep the hors d'oeuvres colorful and fun with a bowl of freshly made guacamole, surrounded by several kinds of salsa, tortilla chips, and crisp slices of carrot, bell pepper, celery, zucchini or jicama.

Guacamole

Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups.

2 large ripe avocados

2 teaspoons fresh lime or lemon juice

1/4 cup sour cream (optional)

1 small clove garlic, crushed

1 small tomato, diced

1 canned jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (optional)

1/4 cup onion, finely minced

few sprigs cilantro (fresh coriander), coarsely chopped

Halve the avocados; remove pits, scoop out pulp and mash with a fork.

Add lime juice, sour cream (if using), garlic, tomato, jalapeno (if used), onion and cilantro, mixing after each addition.

Chicken-avocado salad

Serves 4.

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup honey

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

Salt to taste

2 cups diced chicken breast, cooked

1 head Boston lettuce

1/2 cup diced avocado

1 large pink grapefruit, peeled and sectioned

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Mix together vinegar, honey, soy sauce, ginger, oil and salt. Pour over cooked chicken; marinate 1 to 2 hours.

Wash and dry lettuce; tear into bite-sized pieces. Arrange on individual salad plates. Add avocado, grapefruit sections, pine nuts. Divide the chicken among 4 plates, drizzling any remaining dressing over the top of each portion. Serve immediately.

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