Today is Father's Day, did you remember your dad today?
I ordered my father a dozen fresh Hass avocados from a grove in California near where he grew up in San Dimas. He grew up on an orchard in California and they could walk out their back door and pluck a fresh avocado off a tree or a fresh orange, lemon or lime. I know he misses that from his childhood and I know he absolutely loves fresh avocados but finding them in local grocery stores in just the right condition can be difficult.
He likes guacamole dip but really what he loves best is to simply slice up an avocado, sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the buttery flesh and eat it just like that.
I have to admit that I like them that way too. My mother enjoys them but not as much as my father and I do. So, it was truly a gift for him that I know he'll love and appreciate.
There are quite a few recipes out there for various avocado dips, guacamole and salsas but I have one that I make which even my husband who does not like avocados loves and even asks me to make sometimes.
That is when you know you have a good recipe, when there is an ingredient in it that someone normally doesn't like but they find they do like it made a certain way. I love surprising people who say, "Oh, I don't care for chocolate, but I'll try a small bite." Because they want to be polite and then they come back for seconds and say, "Normally, I don't like chocolate but this is great!"
I love that reaction. As a cook you feel as if you have done something pretty wonderful.
My father and my husband are both people who have definite thoughts on certain foods. "Oh no, I don't care for that," tends to be a popular phrase with them both. Then they try whatever "that" they claim not to like and find out they do like it after all.
My father still will not eat my coleslaw; he says that desserts should be sweet; dinner foods should not be sweet. He also doesn't care for sweet and sour chicken for example or honey ham.
All he likes in his coleslaw is mayonnaise, salt and pepper, so when we have family barbecues or like last week a fish fry, we make separate batches of coleslaw.
Agreement on avocados though is something my father and I tend to come together on while the rest of the family stands around going "Well, I like the salsa you make but...eating them with just salt and pepper? You guys are nuts!"
I imagine my father will want to share at least one or two of the avocados I got him with me since no one else will want any. It will be just like when I was a little girl and we wouldn't even make it to the table, we would just stand at the counter and just gobble them up just as they are.
My husband will likely urge me to make my salsa though when we get our own avocados too. The salsa takes a while because I won't use canned green chilies unless they are a certain brand directly from Hatch, New Mexico. I am very particular about that. The ones you find of other brands taste like vinegar has been used as a preservative and it affects the color, texture and flavor of the chili to me. When you grow up in a half-Spanish family you know what green chili is supposed to taste like and that certainly isn't vinegar.
So, if you make this recipe I'm going to share, bear in mind if you use canned green chilies the flavor may not be as rich as the flavors in my version.
Tam's Avocado Salsa
3 to 4 avocados, peeled, seeded, and chopped (one-half-inch square works well)
1 4-ounce can black olives, drained and sliced
2-3 fresh Anaheim chili peppers, roasted, skinned, seeded and diced (you can use canned green chili, I recommend rinsing and picking out skins but this isn't my preferred method)
7 to 8 small green onions, chopped
3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (you can start out with 2 or 3 tablespoons and adjust as needed if it seems too dry)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (sometimes I use 1 tablespoon lemon and 1 tablespoon lime)
3-4 tablespoons of fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1 teaspoon salt if you feel it needs it
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients gently, you don't want to mash the avocados too much, this isn't guacamole. Refrigerate at least an hour for flavors to blend, stir before serving. This salsa is excellent with restaurant style corn chips or as a topper for spicy grilled steak, chicken breast or pork chops. If the chips you choose are particularly salty I would skip the salt in the dip itself, if they are a less salty variety (like I tend to use) then salt may be needed in the salsa.
For an extra special touch you can roast corn on the grill. Cool and then shave off the cob into this salsa. If you want more spice you can add a diced jalapeno pepper or use the darker skinned poblano peppers instead of Anaheim.
This is a very forgiving recipe; you can change, add or subtract ingredients by taste but remember, the tastes will intensify after the flavors blend in the refrigerator. Avocado in particular soaks up the flavors around it because of the texture.