Alice: Most of the time when you buy avocados from the store, they are not ripe. When can you tell if an avocado is ripe?
Gaby: If you are buying the Hass variety (usually the only variety they carry in all stores) you can look for 2 different things. First is color. When a Hass avocado is bright green, it’s too hard. When a Hass avocado is deep purple it’s too ripe. But somewhere inbetween those colors is just right. You also want the avocado to have just the slightest bit of give when you gently squeeze it. If it’s too mushy, don’t bother as it’s over-ripe. I typically buy the avocados that are bright green and rock hard and then let them ripen at home. If I need them to ripen even faster, I’ll put them in a brown bag with a banana. Some of the natural gas that the banana emits will help to ripen the avocados.
Alice: I know you are a personal chef to many A-List Hollywood celebrities. Can you tell us some of their favorite avocado recipes you prepare for them from your book?
Gaby: Funny you should ask! This bacon avocado and corn salad is one of my clients favorites! They also love any of the guacamoles! Living in LA means we are lucky enough to get pretty amazing avocados year round… so I’m constantly whipping up some guacamole for dinner parties at my clients homes!
Alice: Thanks Gaby!
To learn more about Gaby or to order her book, please visit her website at http://whatsgabycooking.com.
Recipe: Bacon Avocado and Corn Salad
A delicious recipe featuring bacon, avocados, and corn from Gaby Dalkin's new cookbook, Absolutely Avocados. Reprinted by permission from Gaby Dalkin and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
- 5 strips thick-cut bacon
- 4 ears corn, husks and silks removed
- 2 ounces cotija cheese (feta cheese may be substituted)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 Hass avocado
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- By now you’ve probably realized that I have an obsession with avocado and bacon. They just seem to be a match made in heaven. This bright springtime and summertime salad will make a gorgeous addition to any table, and you’ll have everyone from kids to adults gobbling up this delectable side.
- Place a heavy skillet over medium heat. Arrange the bacon strips in the skillet and cook on both sides until the bacon is crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to dry. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the skillet.
- Cut the kernels off each cob by laying the cob flat on a cutting board and using a sharp knife to remove the kernels. Discard the cobs and transfer the kernels to the skillet with the bacon fat. Cook the corn over medium-high heat until it is just slightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, crumble in the cotija cheese, and add the cilantro and lime juice. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Roughly crumble the bacon into the corn mixture and toss to combine.
- Cut the avocado in half lengthwise. Remove the pit from the avocado and discard. Remove the avocado from the skin, and cut the avocado into 1⁄2-inch pieces. Transfer the avocado to the skillet and toss.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper before serving. Serve immediately at room temperature, or refrigerate for later. Bring to room temperature before serving.