Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Avocado

I love the avocado...all 300 calories of it! You say 30 grams of fat? I say 13 grams of fiber. 13mg of sodium? Puh-leez, how about one-third of your daily intake of vitamin C, not to mention lots of vitamin B and folate? The avocado, worthy of such titles as the fertility fruit (the Aztecs) and the butter of the forest (the Japanese), claims a special place in the pits of many of our souls. And while I religiously prepare perhaps what is the best guacamole this side of...errr, well, at least my kitchen walls... I do utilize the emerald fruit to star in more than just my Mexican features. He's suave. He's international! He tastes good with lemon and salt. After all, he is silky-smooth, velvety-soft, and tough-skinned. The ambassador of gourmet. The diplomatic fruit. Oh avocado, your last name may as well be Pitt!

Yes, the avocado does often play a role in my--and many others'--Japanese cooking. It's said that a ripe avocado resembles the texture of toro--one of the most prized areas of flesh of the blue-fin tuna.

In fact, if you can't get your hands on the good stuff, purchase fresh but economical sashimi (not the toro, which is pink from the marbled fat, but the red flesh-only), and arrange the pieces over sushi rice. Scatter blocks of diced ripe avocado on top, and as you take a bite, close your eyes as the lean, red meat of the tuna does a back-flip to salute the mean green yummy machine and feel like what is in fact a ¥500 sashimi-don is a ¥2,000 toro delight!

One fantastic no-frills Japonization (ah yeah... is that a word?) of the creamy avocade is to slice it up and serve it sashimi-style--complete with a a dash of soy sauce in a sauce dish with a smother of wasabi on its rim. Accessorize with a frosty glass of beer. I tell you, avocado sashimi is the best thing that could accompany you for a Sunday night feature on TV, an elegant appetizer to your five-course meal or the dependable sidekick for the take-out-sushi-and-let's-watch-baseball (or whatever) night. Yes, as its emerald hue implies, the avocado is wicked.

アボガド avocado
森のバター butter of the forest
刺身 sashimi (in the vernacular, it is often referred to as osashimi, which is a more polite way of saying sashimi.)

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