Prep 15 mins Wait 15 mins Eat 30 mins
The Crab and Avocado Salad is destined for my rotating repertoire and a menu item for one of my upcoming cooking classes. In this dish, the creaminess of the avocado matches so well with the crunch of the raw cabbage and persian cucumber slices. The garlicky mayo blend pulls together the exotic and delicate taste of the crab. Yum! I’m in love…with this dish.
Mention the word avocado and I am there. Avocados are delicious beyond words. Silky, smooth, nutty. creamy, sinful describe a perfectly ripened avocado in a dish. No convincing me about the value of avocados in my diet. Hey, it grows on a tree and has one ingredient on the label – avocado.
A week ago I was invited to visit an Avocado Grove. To my foodie friends and me, this was heaven! I learned more about avocados – beyond the fact that they are naturally cholesterol free and they can be used in place of other fats – bonus! You consume 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in every avocado. Double bonus! Forget the old hogwash about avocados being bad for you. Whoever started that rumor?
Don’t want to eat dairy? Then, you absolutely must try the Chocolate Mousse made with avocados. Yes, you heard me correctly. The avocado is a great replacement for dairy, because it is so creamy and smooth. But make only what you can eat. Once avocados are cut open, they begin to oxidize and may turn brown, so you must eat it all. To keep avocados looking fresh, spritz them with an acid like lemon or lime juice or simply rinse the flesh with water to prevent the oxidation. Visit the California Avocado website for all the healthy living details about these green gems.
Our Avocado Day was absolutely magical. A beautiful day emerged following the cool weather and rain, and as we stood on top of the mountain in Santa Paula where Susan and Dan Pinkerton’s Avocado Ranch House is built, we could see forever.
There overlooking God’s creation, we dined on a brunch of avocado laced dishes with the theme, “Wake up to California Avocados”. So idyllic. Yet to hear the Pinkerton story, idyllic is not the word they would choose.
These are hard working people that have toiled with weather and food science to create perfect healthy avocados that pass the rigorous 2011 Food & Safety Modernization Act specified by our U.S. Department of Agriculture. Doing what it takes to have the California Avocado Commission’s quality badge on their leathery alligator skins. Did you know that the avocado was once called an Alligator Pear? Great to see hard working people succeeding in what they love to do.
We took home a bag of freshly picked avocados, perfect specimens – 6-8 ouncers or size 36-40 as they are known in the biz from a typical farm bin that holds 900 – 975 pounds of avocados. Not all avocado bins look like this. Before they come to your local supermarket, they are sent down a conveyor belt, as we saw at Mission Produce where pickers pull out the culls. These are avocados that will never appear in your supermarket. You will only see Grade One avocados. Grade Two avocados have skin blemishes and are sent to food service customers, where the end consumer will never see the skin. Further down the line they are weighed and sent to be boxed up with similar size avocados.
In the old days, these boxes would be sent to your supermarket immediately. But today, the avocados are conditioned, meaning they are ripened for your use before they reach the supermarket. A fresh picked avocado takes 5 to 12 days to ripen at room temperature. Not fast enough for our appetites. Gone are the days when we needed to be told when an avocado is ripe or when it yields to gentle pressure. The ripening program fulfills our need for Fresh Food in a Flash, according to Jan DeLyser of the California Avocado Commission.
Daniel Rodriquez showed us how Mission Produce speeds up the ripening process of their avocados in temperature controlled chambers where they add natural plant-based ethylene gas found in apples, bananas and other fruit. Ethylene is the hormone in fruit that causes it to ripen. Conditioning allows Mission to fill Western retailer orders, who often order 30% ripe, 30% breaking and 30% firm avocados to fulfill the need of every type of consumer.
So how can you store your avocados for optimum freshness? If you want to slow down the process, hard avocados fresh from the tree can be refrigerated until you want to begin the ripening process. You can also refrigerate ripe avocados until you are ready to eat them. You can speed up the ripening process by placing avocados in a paper or plastic bag. If you store it with a banana, more natural ethylene gas will be present in the the bag, hastening the ripening as they do in the chambers at Mission Produce. But if your grocer got it right, the avocados you purchase will be ready to eat when you are ready. Purchase ripe avocados for tonight or the harder ones for a few days later.
As the day was ending, I was thankful for this remarkable day. A drive down Malibu’s Pacific Coast Highway looking at Catalina Island in the distance, a quick walk on the beach, a stop at an Oxnard strawberry stand for perfectly ripe strawberries and a stroll around the beachfront Adamson House State Park during the “golden hour” completed this magical day. I can’t wait to enjoy all the perfect avocados floating around my house that have inspired me to make and create. A bumper crop of avocados are expected this summer. Try this Crab and Avocado Salad and get your favorite recipes ready for avocado specials at the supermarket!
Crab and Avocado Salad
- 2 Tbs mayonnaise
- 2 Tbs sour cream
- 1 tsp dijon-style mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- salt & pepper to taste
- 4 cups cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup crab meat
- 1 large avocado, peeled, seeded and cubed ( or two small)
- 2 persian cucumbers
1. In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, dijon, honey, garlic and vinegar, salt and pepper. Add finely shredded cabbage and crab and stir all ingredients together. Set aside in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or until you are ready to serve.
2. Slice persian cucumber into thin slices at a slight diagonal. Sprinkle with salt. Peel, seed and cube a large ripe avocado.
3. Place crab salad in a round flat mound on four plates. Top with the cucumber slices, then the avocado cubes. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Servings: 4 189 calories per serving