I love this time of year. The nights are long, the fish are biting, the wine is cold and the roadside stalls are jam-packed full of fresh, quality produce, including old mate avocado.
When it comes to choosing avocados, the traditional squeeze test is the way to go – they should give slightly when very gently squeezed. At home, you can make sure they are bang on by peeling off the little stem. If the stem doesn’t come off easily, it’s not ripe yet; if it’s brown underneath, it’s overripe.
I went on a fishing trip a few years back and we stayed on an avocado orchard. Talk about heaven on earth. While there, we mixed leftover smoked kahawai (another summer classic) with a couple of tablespoons of miso paste, some minced ginger, fresh lemon juice and minced avocado flesh, then served it in the avo skins, sprinkled with sesame seeds. It made for an unreal pre-dinner snack with a glass of wine.
If you’ve got a really soft avo, spoon it out of the skin and place it upside down on a plate. Top with ricotta, a good drizzle of balsamic vinegar and crushed pistachios. Serve with your favourite crackers to keep guests entertained while you finish cooking dinner.
By Tim Read, NZ’s newest Master Chef
This content initially appeared in The Seasonal #02 SUMMER 2015