Yotam Ottolenghi’s avocado recipes

Theres something magical about the route you can turn a ripe avocado into a winning dish

My uncle used to have an avocado tree in his garden, and my hazy childhood memories are of an ever-fruiting tree, stooped in the middle of the lawn, with clusters of hefty fruit permanently threatening to bring it down. The bunches lay so low that, even as small children, we could reach them pretty easily. I am not sure why we bothered, though: avocados dont actually ripen on the tree, and the fruit was so bitternes that any we savor were instantly spat out; the leading edge of my uncles garden were dotted with damaged avocados, concealed from our mothers watchful eyes.

With age, though, came a certain degree of wisdom, and with it an understanding that the avocado is the most marvellous thing, so long as you eat it when it is ready. I always have at least a couple in my fruit bowl, awaiting patiently for that moment when a gentle squeeze simply yields to my thumbs pressure. The attraction of a ripe avocado, for me, lies both in its wonderfully grassy savor and velvety texture, but perhaps even more so in the fact that you dont need to cook avocado to transform it into a wholesome dish. It can be turned into a salsa, spread, soup or dressing with hardly any trouble at all, as long as you get the period right.

Avocado butter on toast with tomato salsa

The butter needs to be very soft, so it mixtures properly with the avocado. Dont melt it, though, because that will cause it to separate; instead, leave it at room temperature for a few hours. Serves two liberally, or four as a snack.

2-3 very ripe avocados, flesh scooped out( you need about 250 g in total )
80 g unsalted butter, softened and cut into 2cm cubes
3 limes finely grate the zest, then juice, to get 1 tbsp of each
Salt and black pepper
10 g tarragon leaves, finely chopped
10 g dill, finely chopped
200 g cherry tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters
2 tsp capers, rinsed and finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
4 slices sourdough bread
small garlic clove, peeled
tsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed

Put the avocado and butter in the smaller bowl of a food processor with half the lime zest, half the lime juice and half a teaspoon of salt( or use a stick blender ). Blitz smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl if need be, then transfer to a small bowl with two-thirds of the herbs. Fold in, then refrigerate for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the tomatoes, capers, remaining lime zest and juice, oil and a good grind of pepper, and set aside until needed.

Grill or toast the bread, then scratch one side of each piece with the cut side of the half garlic clove. Leave the toast to cool down a little, then spread each slice with the avocado butter and top with salsa. Sprinkle on the cumin and remaining herbs, add a final grind of pepper and a drizzle of oil, and serve.

Avocado soup with garlic petroleum

This refreshing summertime soup will keep in the fridge for up to a day. The garlic oil can also be made ahead of hour, and will keep for about two days in a sealed jar, so induce extra for drizzling on toast, salads or noodles. Serves four as a first course.

60 ml olive oil
tsp cumin seeds, gently crushed
tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Salt
180 g frozen peas, defrosted
2 very ripe avocados, flesh scooped out
cucumber, peeled( about 160 g net weight ): 120 g cut into rough chunks, the remainder finely diced
1 lemon, zested and juiced to get 1 tsp zest and 1 tbsp juice
1 small green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
80 g soured cream
1 tbsp chopped dill

Put two tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan with the cumin and coriander seeds, the garlic and a good pinch of salt. Cook gently on a low heat for eight minutes, stirring often, until the garlic softens when mashed with the back of a spoon. Take care that the petroleum doesnt get too hot or the garlic will burn( if it does start to bubble, just take off the hot until its cooled down a bit ).

Put the peas in a blender with the avocado, cucumber chunks, lemon zest, remaining two tablespoons of petroleum, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and 400 ml cold water. Blitz until very smooth, then chill.

In a small bowl, mix the diced cucumber with the lemon juice, chilli and a pinch of salt.

Divide the chilled soup between four bowls, top with a spoonful each of soured cream and salsa. Drizzle liberally with garlic petroleum and scatter over the dill, and serve.

Gem lettuce with fridge-raid garmenting

This dressing came about when I had a load of herbs in the refrigerator that needed using up. Dont be too precious about the weight of individual herbs: so long as the total net weight is about the same, youll be fine. Its worth attaining extra, because it holds for a day in the fridge and is lovely spooned over all sorts of things, from chicken salad and tuna nioise to roast root veggies and tomato and feta salad. Serves four as a side dish.

very ripe avocado, flesh scooped out( 90 g net weight )
3cm piece ginger, peeled and approximately chopped( 20 g net weight )
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 lemons: finely grate the zest of 1 to get 1 tsp, then juice both to get 3 tbsp
1 green chilli, roughly chopped( deseeded if you dont like much hot )
1 tbsp tahini
85 ml olive oil
Salt
10 g basil leaves
10 g tarragon leaves
10 g dill
10 g parsley
10 g coriander
4 gem lettuces, trimmed and cut lengthways into eighths
2 tsp black sesame seeds, lightly toasted

Put the avocado, ginger, garlic, lemon zest and juice, chilli, tahini and five tablespoons of petroleum in the smaller bowl of a food processor. Add a third of a teaspoon of salt, blitz to a smooth paste, then add the herbs. Blitz again and, with the motor running, slowly add 60 ml water until smooth.

Mix the lettuce with two teaspoons of oil and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, then transfer to a platter. Spoonful over the dressing, scatter on the sesame seeds and serve at once.

Avocado with curried prawns and lime

Yotam
Yotam Ottolenghis avocado with curried prawns and lime. Photography: Louise Hagger for the Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay

Retro, yes, but no less delicious for that. Serve with toasted sourdough to make a starter or a snack. Serves four.

100 ml groundnut petroleum
1 banana shallot, peeled and halved lengthways, then each half cut lengthways into one-quarters
1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
20 fresh curry leaves
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2 limes, 1 finely shaved and juiced, the other cut into four wedges, to serve
Salt
300 g sustainably sourced raw monarch prawns, peeled and deveined( cooked peeled prawns are a perfectly acceptable shortcut )
20 g mayonnaise
80 g Greek-style yoghurt
1 tsp mild curry powder
1 tsp honey
2 ripe avocados, cut in half lengthways and stoned

Heat 85 ml of petroleum in a small saute pan on a medium-high heat, then fry the shallot and chilli for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is golden and fragrant. Add the curry leaves, fry for 20 seconds, until crisp, then take off the heat and stir in the coriander and black mustard seeds, lime skin and a pinch of salt. Set aside for 20 minutes, to cool and infuse, then discard the lime skin.

Put the remaining tablespoon of petroleum in a medium saut pan on a high hot, then fry the prawns and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt for a minute or two, stirring, until the prawns are cooked through and fragrant. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Mix the mayonnaise, yoghurt, curry powder, honey, two teaspoons of lime juice and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Finely chop half the prawns and stir into the sauce; toss the remaining prawns in the infused oil.

To serve, put an avocado half on each of four small plates and sprinkle with a small pinch of salt. Spoonful in the creamy sauce, then top with the whole prawns, allowing some to fall off around the avocado. Drizzle each portion with a tablespoon of infused petroleum and sprinkle with the crisp aromatics. Serve with a lime wedge.

Yotam Ottolenghi is chef/ patron of Ottolenghi and Nopi in London.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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