The executive chef of dine by Peter Gordon at SkyCity answers your cuisine questions.
I am hearing already that there is going to be a bumper avocado crop this season. I have plenty of ideas for using fresh avocados, but would love to have them on hand all year around. Cooked avos are horrible, but do you have any ideas for how I could freeze or preserve or process them to keep them? Or is it something that really is only seasonal?
What a lovely problem that's going to be - I dream of such worries and in fact today I ate some avocado on toast with a poached egg and basil, and coriander cress sprinkled on top at private members club Shoreditch House. Not quite as nice as Miles Kirby's avocado on wholegrain toast at Caravan cafe in Clerkenwell, but still ... I agree with your cooked avocados, and am yet to see anything good about them or taste anything fanciable.
However they are useful in cooking, and I have had a lovely chilled soup made by sauteing till softened (before puréeing and cooling) 1 medium leek, 1 clove garlic, 2 teaspoons grated ginger, 500g golden kumara and spices (try chilli flakes, a little cinnamon, fresh ginger).
Once chilled mix in 800g puréed avocado, 400ml unsweetened coconut milk and season to taste. It'll be thick and rich and is best served as small portions. Garnish with a red capsicum and red onion salsa with plenty of lime juice, grated zest and shredded coriander, mint or basil leaves mixed in.
I also make a lovely sorbet from equal quantities (near enough) of mango and avocado flesh. Add sugar syrup or runny honey to taste and 50ml lime or lemon juice to every 500ml purée - adjust the taste to suit yourself. Churn as you would an ice cream and if it's a little icy then next time add a little more sugar syrup or a shot or three of golden Stolen Rum.
It is also great used as a salsa - dice the flesh and mix with thinly sliced spring onions, lime or lemon juice, chopped fresh red or green chillies to taste, the kernels of boiled or grilled sweetcorn, and lots of shredded herbs such as coriander, basil, tarragon or minced lemongrass - serve this over grilled fish or chicken.
I was cutting up an avocado recently and a friend was mesmerised as he'd never done it the same way. Cut the fruit in half lengthways and twist open. Firmly but carefully clunk a knife into the stone and twist to remove - but be careful as it's potentially slippery. Holding the halved fruit flesh facing up, and using a round nosed knife, such as you'd butter your bread with, cut the flesh into dice but keeping the flesh intact. Then simply use a dessertspoon to scoop out the flesh into diced pieces. So easy and no mess on the chopping board to clean up. Hass avocados are ripe to use when they are brown-green, or can be used soft-ripe when they are dark brown (black means they are past their best).
* To ask Peter a question, click on the Email Peter link below.