Mashed on toast, diced over a salad, blended into a smoothie, avocados have become a habitual, seemingly necessary addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But what if we considered the green fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) as the star of a dish rather than a supplementary ingredient?
In The Basque Book: A Love Letter in Recipes from the Kitchen of Txikitoi ($16; amazon.com), Alexandra Raij and Eder Montero—N.Y.C.-based chefs and owners of El Quinto Pino, La Vara, and Txikito—share delicious recipes from and inspired by the Basque region of Spain, including Eder’s Avocado Salad. Despite its name, this dish only consists of ripe avocados, oil and vinegar, and a hearty sprinkling of Spanish spices (no lettuce necessary).
“One evening, Eder halved an avocado, seasoned it with salt, and dusted it generously with…Riojan paprika. Embellished with a little sweet vinegar made from the Basque white wine Txakoli and enough olive oil to dissolve the paprika, it was a genius salad with pitch-perfect flavor,” writes Raij. “Calculate half an avocado per person, although I guarantee you’ll end up eating both halves if you make it for yourself.” Read on below for the recipe.
Eder’s Avocado Salad
3 ripe Hass avocados, halved and pitted
1 1/2 to 2 tbsp Txakoli wine vinegar ($25; zingermans.com), white balsamic vinegar, or seasoned rice vinegar
3 tbsp smoked Spanish paprika, preferably from Rioja, or 2 tbsp sweet La Vera smoked paprika ($5; surlatable.com) mixed with 1 tbsp sweet Spanish paprika ($3; myspacesage.com)
About 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Thinly slice an avocado half and array the slices on an individual salad plate. Do not fan the slices; they should be close together. (You can also just peel the half and lie it cut side down on a plate.) Repeat with the remaining avocado halves.
2. Drizzle each half with about 1/2 tsp of the vinegar. Using a small fine-mesh strainer or a shaker, dust each serving with a thin layer of paprika. Season with salt, drizzle generously with the oil—you want enough oil to dissolve the paprika and give each half the appearance of a rusty car door—then serve.
Reprinted with permission from The Basque Book by Alexandra Raij with Eder Montero and Rebecca Flint Marx, copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.