Friday, April 7, 2017

Simple Avocado Tuna Salad...

Yummy Avocado! It's lovely mild creamy texture, versatility and host of nutritional benefits makes it a welcomed addition in so many dishes! My kids light up whenever it's on the menu, mashed and tossed up in a guacamole served with tortilla chips, as a topping in tacos or fajitas, or simply sliced with a drizzle of good EVOO, a splash of lemon or lime and a sprinkling of sea salt. I was inspired recently by a vlogger with her sexy but simple chopped avocado, tuna, cucumber and onion salad! So I had to whip it up. Oh yes, the lovely combination of flavours and textures really shine harmoniously and it tastes even better than it looks. Now I got a good-for-you quick and easy, delicious salad recipe in my back pocket for any time hunger strikes with ingredients almost always in my pantry :). 

Avocado- is it a fruit or a vegetable? Technically, it is a fruit because it contains a seed, but it is actually classified as a vegetable. Did you know that its other names are alligator pear (due to its rough dark pebbly skin) and butter pear (self-explanatory). Avocados is native to Central America. It's luscious pear shape and creamy flesh naturally led to its reputation as an aphrodisiac. Its Aztec name, ahuacatl, means "testicle," referring to both the fruit's shape and the way it hangs from the trees in pairs. There are two main types of avocados. The popular Hass avocado has pebbly skin that ripens from green to purplish black, with a pliable skin for peeling and a small to medium-sized seed. The taste is more buttery than the other kind-- Florida or Caribbean avocados, that have deep green flesh covered with a smooth, green, pliable skin and a large pit. The Hass variety is harvested from early winter through spring while the California ones are available year-round.

Hass Avocados Photo Credit: California Avocado

Buying and Storing: When buying an avocado for immediate use, select fruit that yields to gentle pressure; if planning to use later, look for more firmness. To speed ripening, I place avocados sealed in a brown paper bag along with two apples on the counter. This traps the ethylene gas, which ripens the avocado. Avoid bright green, rock-hard avocados because they will be difficult to ripen properly, and those that are sunken, shriveled or mushy. Once ripe, eat immediately or refrigerate for up to two days. 

Preparing: Cut the avocado lengthwise around the seed. Rotate the halves to separate. Remove the seed by slipping tip of spoon gently underneath and lifting out, or bringing a knife down in the seed's centre, twist and lift out. Peel by pulling skin back from the stem end. Or simply scoop the avocado flesh out with a spoon. Sprinkle all cut surfaces with lemon or lime juice to prevent oxidation thus discolouration until ready to use.

Simple Avocado Tuna Salad
Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 cans flaked or chunk tuna, well drained
3 to 4 medium-sized ripe avocados, cut into chunks
1 medium cucumber, diced
1/4 medium red onion, sliced and diced
lemon wedge
sea/kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toss tuna, avocado, cucumber and onions together in a large bowl. Splash with lemon juice, drizzle well with EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Toss again. That's it, that's all! Enjoy...

To Jazz it up: top with cilantro, hot sauce or pickled jalapeno peppers.

Creamy luscious, tangy and divine!

Serve with crunchy whole wheat crackers or crisps.

Avocados pair up nicely with flavour affinities such as chilies, cilantro, crab meat, grapefruit, lime shrimp, tomato, tropical fruits, tuna and vinaigrette. Here are some other easy ideas my family loves savouring with these lovelies.

My kids enjoy sliced ripe avocado dressed with crunchy bits of red onion, lime juice, EVOO, and sprinkled with sea salt and ground black pepper. Another delicious way is serving grapefruit segments along with avocados. It would be a perfect way to smooth out the sour notes of grapefruit. Together they make an incredibly beautiful and refreshing pair! Served side-by-side on a plate, grapefruit's juice intermingled with lime over buttery avocado is too delicious.
Sublime Avocado with Onions

Avocado and Grapefruit with Onions

Guacamole is such a simple recipe my kids love making from scratch to finish which lets them just do it without much assistance. From washing, prepping the fresh ingredients, scooping the avocado seed, mashing and seasoning to enjoying the fruits of their labour, they adore this healthy dip.

Easy Peasy Guacamole

My friend Alvin has avocado in practically everything. It's not unusual for him to have half a dozen or more sitting on his counter at varying degrees of ripeness. And its all for him. Aside from eating it sliced as a side to his meals, another way he enjoys it is encased in his ever-changing burrito-style wraps. This one is vegetarian with tofu, and it's super delicious!

Photo Credit: Alvin Hoang

Food Revolution Toronto continues to host our monthly cooking contest, and this month it's all about fruits and vegetables. Show us how you eat your favourite, snap a photo, tag us at #cookwithfoodrevto and enter to win. See here for contest rules!

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