As a kid, avocado was a color; an ugly throwback to a time I couldn’t connect with and the sad dark color of the deep pile shag carpeting in my teenage home. Avocado wasn’t a food my parents ever contemplated and because Idaho isn’t the sort of place you’d expect to find an avocado tree (except, of course, on the kitchen window seal of the seed sprouting hobbyist), they were never on my mind.
When I finally discovered the creamy, nutty flavors of avocado, they were adulterated with mayo in what can only be described as a redneck, white-trash take on a Mexican classic. I fell in love instantly! The silken, herbaceous and delicate earthy flavors of avocado were to me at the time the sort of thing to be indulged with crunchy corn chips or as a cool base for crab or shrimp Louis salad. It was a lunch or dinner thing, in a nice café or in front of the boob tube or on a picnic.
Why not avocado in the morning? It is a big berry after all, and it pairs equally well with eggs and toast or any of the delightful winter citrus now in the market. The silky ripe avocado isn’t just for guacamole anymore. We’ve started eating the sexy, silky fruit with soft-boiled eggs, sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper and crunchy gray sea salt. With a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a slice of warm crunchy toast, the avo-ovo breakfast has become a favorite at our breakfast table.
The perfect avocado will be soft but not mushy. Choosing a nice ripe avocado takes some practice. Regardless of the variety, the avocado’s skin shouldn’t be dented and beaten up looking. Avocados bruise as any other fruit and once the flesh has been knocked around, it will turn brown. A ripe avocado will still be somewhat firm to the touch but it’ll give a little under the careful pressure of a thumb. The avocados pictured at the top of the post are “bacon” avocados. According to the California Avocado Commission, there are approximately 500 varieties of avocado. California produces 7 varieties for commercial sale.
The perfect soft-boiled egg will be creamy and soft in the middle without falling apart into an under-cooked mess. The technique for cooking soft-boiled eggs is learnable and worth the care. The word “boiled” is a bit misleading because you never want to cook eggs at a rapid boil. Eggs need to sit in water that is just at the simmer point for the desired length of time. We heat water in a saucepan and gently lower the eggs into the hot water to better control for time. If you place the eggs into the pan while the water is still cold, you’ll have a much harder time gauging just how cooked they are. To prevent cold eggs from cracking as they hit the hot water, use a thumbtack or pin to puncture the “flat” end of the egg. This allows air to escape while the egg quickly expands inside the shell, relieving pressure and ensuring you don’t end up with egg-drop soup. For soft, creamy centers, large eggs should simmer for 7 minutes. Smaller eggs will require less time. I’d say probably 5-6 minutes. Every minute matters so experiment until you figure it out on your own stove.
To the naysayers who worry about the fat content of avocado, I say phooey. The fat in avocado is among the best kind for your health and it quells hunger leaving you feeling satisfied and well fed. Better to put down the bag of chips and eat all the avocado you want. Both your heart and your waistline will benefit.