Bologna to Bolognese: Adventures With Food

Food is necessary. Food is fun. Food is an adventure!

My name is Shannon and this is my adventure, my love affair with food.

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Grilled Avocado Salad

Salads, to me, are the epitome of spring foods. Even though you won't find the greens and other traditional salad accouterments in your garden until later in the summer, wild greens are out there if you know how to find them. Somehow as soon as the snow is gone and trees start showing some green I just can't bear to eat hot foods for lunch and I start to crave the fresh flavours of a salad. Whether you harvest your ingredients from nature or get them at the market salads are the way to go for spring.

My first salad of the season accompanied grilled chicken and steak. I barbecued the chicken and seasoned the steak with rich earthy flavours since there was still a chill in the air and the heartiness of the meat was a comfort indeed.
To balance it out, I made a Grilled Avocado Salad, again balancing the heavy richness of the avocado with the acidic sweetness of tomato and the pungent flavors of onion and sweet basil.

Grilled Avocado Salad
(serves 4-8)

1 Large Ripe Avocado
1 Medium Large Ripe Tomato
1/2 Red Onion
Salt And Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 Tbsp Basil Vinegar
1 Handful of Fresh Basil or 1 Tbsp Dried Basil (fresh is best but dried will do)
1/2 Tbsp Tarragon

Start by slicing the onion and tomato. You can do this any way you like but I like chunky tomatoes so I slice them, Halve the slice and cut each half into thirds. For the onions, halve the onion and slice it to make nice half rings. Add the spices olive oil and vinegar and toss well. Let this sit while you prepare the avocado. Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Drizzle some olive oil on a plate. Next slice your avocado vertically and lay the slices in the olive oil (coat both sides of each slice). Place your avocados on the grill on a medium heat (If grilling with charcoal put them midway to the outside of your grill rack not directly over the hottest part of the coals.) for a 1-2 minutes on each side. You will need to watch they do not burn but once they have browned a bit take them off. Finally cut the slices into chunks removing the outer rind and add the avocado to the salad mixture, toss and let rest until dinner is ready. (I like to do this right before the meat is done so the avocado is still slightly warm.)

The slightly smoky flavor and buttery texture of the avocado will contrast beautifully with the crisp onion and juicy tomato, and the basil will bring that breath of spring that will be oh so satisfying to your pallet.

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