California avocado season is officially in full swing, just in time for the upcoming summer holidays. This year, the California Avocado Commission has partnered with Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger to share great ideas for jazzing up any summer gathering with California avocados. Ideal for the 4th of July, Labor Day or any gathering in-between, it’s undeniable that California avocados add something special to any party.
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Milliken and Feniger, also known as the “Too Hot Tamales,” have both competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and are co-chef/owners of the popular Border Grill restaurants in Santa Monica, Calif., Downtown Los Angeles and Las Vegas, along with the Border Grill Truck, which brings modern Latin cuisine to neighborhoods throughout Southern California. Feniger also is the chef/owner of MudHen Tavern in Los Angeles.
“I make no secret of my affection for California avocados,” said Feniger. “With the fruit being at its peak availability for the whole summer, I think they are an absolutely perfect ingredient to bring for a picnic at the beach, for a neighborhood cocktail party, or for any other hot-weather shindig.”
“California avocados are great as a cool creamy sauce with spicy barbeque, and they add great texture to salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes,” said Milliken. “We’ve created some delicious new recipes that showcase how versatile this fruit can be.”
California produces approximately 90 percent of the nation’s avocado crop on nearly 5,000 family farms in central and southern California. These hand grown California avocados are in season from spring through fall.
California-grown avocados are the ultimate fruit – delicious and good for you. Avocados are a nutritious superfood that provides “good” fats and nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
The “Too Hot Tamales” have created two delicious recipes that will take your next BBQ or summer get-together to the next level: a “California Avocado and Tomato Salad with Crispy Crumbs and Bacon Vinaigrette,” which wows with an impressive tower presentation, and an “Oven Barbequed Ancho Chicken with Cabbage, Grapefruit and California Avocado Salad,” a guaranteed crowd pleaser. For these and other 4th of July and summer-themed recipes, visitCaliforniaAvocado.com/Fourth-of-July.
California Avocado and Tomato Salad with Crispy Crumbs and Bacon Vinaigrette
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
- 8 (1/8-in. thick) slices country bread
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 4 grinds fresh pepper
- 2 ripe Fresh California Avocados, peeled, seeded and quartered
- 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
- 4 Tbsp. Bacon Vinaigrette (see make-ahead recipe below)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Lay bread slices on a cookie sheet.
- Mix together olive oil, pepper and half the salt. Brush this mixture evenly on bread slices and place in oven. Cook until evenly golden brown and crispy, about 8-10 minutes.
- Cool bread completely, then place in a resealable plastic bag and crush into irregular croutons.
- Mash six of the avocado quarters with the remaining salt.
- Divided among each serving plate, layer one slice of tomato and drizzle with small, equal amounts of Bacon Vinaigrette. Follow with avocado mash and sprinkles of crispy crumbs. Repeat in each stack until all ingredients are used.
- Slice the remaining avocado quarter into six thin slices and place two slices on top each stack.
- Drizzle with remaining bacon vinaigrette and serve immediately.
- 4 thick slices bacon, cut into short 1/16-in. thick pieces
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. apple vinegar
- 1/2 Tbsp. honey
- 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fry bacon in a skillet until crisp then drain on paper towels.
- Transfer a spoonful of bacon fat to a large mixing bowl and add olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Whisk to form vinaigrette.
*Note: Recipe yields about 1/3 cup of Bacon Vinaigrette. There will be some left over.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 500; Total Fat 27 g (Sat 3.5 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 4.5 g, Mono 16 g); Cholesterol <5 mg; Sodium 710 mg; Potassium 700 mg; Total Carbohydrates 56 g; Dietary Fiber 9 g; Total Sugars 11 g; Protein 10 g