Posted by: Jacques | August 23, 2010

The Avocado Recipe

I am always happy to share whenever anyone calls or emails asking me for the recipe for a dish that they ate here at Palo Santo, and often I try to post the recipe to this blog.

The last such email request I got was for our “Avocado” recipe. I wrote back asking for a more specific request: “Avocado what? Avocado Gazpacho? Avocado Creme Brulee?”

“It’s your avocado you have on your menu – just avocado.  You put jalepenos (I think pickled) and onion as well on it.  It’s delicious.”

Ahh… Just the Avocado…

Our cooking at Palo Santo is rustic, ingredient driven and simple and of all the dishes in our repertoire the Avocado must be the best example of that. It was one of the first items ever to appear on our menu when we opened in 2006 and it has kept it’s place in the top left corner ever since.

There really is nothing more to that dish than just a couple garnishes and a simple fresh dressing on half of a perfectly ripe avocado. The only real “secret” to be learned is how to select and ripen an avocado. Here are a few tips:

First and foremost, use Hass avocados. They are a variety that is one of the most consistently delicious and highest in fat to water ratio. When buying avocados look for round, plump green ones as opposed to black and tapered. The larger ones have usually spent more time on the tree, which is good. They should also feel heavy for their size. Most importantly, don’t by ripe avocados. Be Patient! Buy your avocados as green as possible and ripen them yourself. Avocado’s ripen best in a warm place, not in the grocer’s walk-in, and the longer that they spend out on the produce shelf the more fingering that they will get. A bruised avocado can look deceivingly black and soft and you might mistake it for a ripe one. Watch your avocado carefully for a few days as it ripens. It will go from bright green to dark green to black. Once it has turned black wait one more day and then squeeze it gently to make sure that it has ripened fully. It should feel like a stick of butter that has been out of the fridge for a little. Soft, and willing to mold to your grip, but not yet mushy.

Now that you have a well cared for and perfectly ripe Avocado gather your other ingredients:

Sliced Red Onion

Sliced Pickled Jalapeno (we pickle our own, but you can find them in cans)

Coarse Sea Salt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fresh Lime Juice

Cut into your ripe avocado with a sharp knife. Go down to the pit and then work your way around it. Twist the two halves and they should come apart easily. The pit will stick into the larger half. Slam the blade of your knife into the pit so that it sticks in and then twist to remove it. (see the photo below) Be careful when doing this.

If your avocado is perfectly ripe the peel should come off easily. If it’s a little bit difficult to get it off you can use the knife to peel it.

Slice the peeled avocado halves and fan them out on a plate. Garnish with the onion and jalapeno and then dress the avocado with the salt, oil and lime juice.

Eat with warm tortillas.



  1. I want the pumpkin ravioli recipe. I haven’t eaten it since 1998 and I still think of it.

    From that trip I did retain the single serving cobbler knowledge and make them all the time.

  2. Jacque,

    Your blog is truly inspirational. When deciding on an avocado’s ripeness, do you ever use the stem plug as a guide? I usually like to see it removes very easily as a sign of ripeness. Also, settle our self-consciousness and tell us that even an expert like you open some avocados to find them unexpectantly brown inside! Do you ever speed up ripening in some way by using a brown paper sack or some other trick?


    • Yes, the stem will definitely be loose on a ripe avocado.

      Yes, sometimes the external appearance of an avocado can be deceiving. I buy avocados by the case and out of them only about 60% at best are fit enough to make Team Avocado. The rest go in the guacamole, avocado gazpacho or staff meal gruel.

      And Yes, Sometimes I ripen avocados faster by brown bagging a few and keeping them in the oven overnight with the pilot light on. It is not advisable to do that and a lower percentage will make the A cut, but when in a crunch I do what I do so that Park Slope doesn’t go Avocadoless.

      Also, I should mention that the way we usually ripen avocados is to leave them in the cardboard box and store them in the basement in the boiler room. With the boiler and two hot water heaters that room stays at least 90f even in the dead of winter.

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