Just when you thought you could sound the "all clear" horn after weekends of watching football, culminating in Superbowl Sunday, along comes March Madness, the NCAA college basketball tournament. If you are not familiar with this phenomenon, my two boys would be more than happy to educate you on the finer points of filling out a bracket, checking the status of your bracket online, and talking smack to other bracket aficionados. (Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time I heard the word "bracket" in the past week...)
For those of us who are sports lovers, it is an exciting tournament to watch - college "phenoms" battling it out to attain the glory that the championship brings. However, for those who care about March Madness as much as I care about what Lindsay Lohan wore to her last court appearance, this sporting event is just another excuse to cook and indulge in game day snacks. At the top of the heap, of course, is guacamole. If you are going to be making pounds of guacamole for the sports fans in your house, you will need to know how to quickly and efficiently prepare an avocado. How do you get the pit out and the skin off without mangling the tender fruit?
How to do it:
Place the knife on a cutting board and hold gently with one hand. Insert the knife at the base of the avocado and slowly rotate the avocado until it is cut all around the pit.
Holding gently with your fingertips, twist the top half of the avocado until it separates from the bottom half.
Carefully chop the heel of a chef's knife into the avocado pit. Twist the pit until it comes loose. Remove and discard the pit.
Now, you can separate the fruit from the skin in one of two ways. Using the first method (left-hand photo), insert a small spoon between the fruit and the skin, gently working the skin away from the fruit. Carefully lift the fruit out of the skin.
In the second method (right-hand photo), hold the skin between your thumb and the flat side of the knife blade. Peel off the skin in strips. This works particularly well with an avocado that is slightly underripe. If the avocado is ripe, you will be cutting the skin away from the fruit, rather than peeling off the skin.
To prepare the avocado for dishes such as salads, sandwiches and wrapped Mexican dishes (i.e., burritos), cut the avocado in lengthwise slices. If you prefer chunks, or will be mashing the avocado into guacamole, cut the strips crosswise into cubes.
Recipes using avocado:
Cookin' Canuck's Poached Eggs on Toast with Chipotle Mayo, Bacon & Avocado
Cookin' Canuck's Spinach Salad with Chicken, Orange & Avocado
Cookin' Canuck's Spinach Salad with Persimmon, Jicama & Avocado, & Miso Dresing
Kalyn's Kitchen's Cucumber & Avocado Salad with Lime, Mint & Feta
What's Gaby Cooking's The Best Guacamole
The Perfect Pantry's Shrimp & Avocado Quesadillas
Dine & Dish's Avocado Fries