I'VE written quite a bit about 'fashionable' foods recently; the regular ingredients that have seen a resurgence in popularity due to various social, scientific and media related factors. But the biggest success story of the past 12 months has to be the avocado.
According to an article in The Grocer, demand for avocados started to outstrip supply in 2015, with suppliers seeing a 30 per cent rise in demand last year alone.
A combination of clever marketing and increased nutritional awareness means that something that used to be associated with naff 1980s dinner parties has now become the delicacy of the health food blogger and foodie elite. If you're a fan of social media, you'll have seen plenty of 'smashed' avocados and 'avo-toast' on your Instagram news feed I'm sure!
There are four main varieties of avocado although Hass are considered to be the best and are recognisable by their dark, knobbly skin. These are the variety you're most likely to find in the shops although you can buy the smooth, green skinned varieties in the UK too.
Catching the avocado when it's perfectly ready to eat is the tricky part – they can change from under-ripe to over-ripe very quickly. You can purchase ripe fruit but at a cost, otherwise try putting them in a paper bag with a banana to speed the process along.
Although avocados are consider to be an incredibly nutritious food, you should also bear in mind that they are also fairly calorific and have a high fat content, albeit the good monounsaturated type.
Avocados are better eaten raw and cold and their mild, creamy flavour means they pair beautifully with bold flavours and textures. Guacamole is a popular way to use avocados but you can also add them to salads or serve with shellfish or salty and spicy ingredients such as feta cheese, black beans and chorizo. You can even whiz them up in desserts and smoothies to create an extra creamy texture.
I've always been a fan of avocados and one of my favourite breakfast/brunch recipes combines avocado with toasted sourdough bread and a lovely runny poached egg.
Packed full of vitamins and minerals, this balanced meal also provides a great source of good fats, carbohydrate and protein. You could also add a couple of rashers of crispy bacon or some smoked salmon if desired.
Avocado & Poached Egg on Sourdough
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 large, ripe avocado
2 free range eggs
4 slices of sourdough bread
Salt & pepper
Slice the avocado in half lengthways and remove the stone. Using a dessert spoon, carefully scoop the flesh out of each half of the skin, maintaining the shape if possible. Slice the flesh lengthways, leaving about 1cm intact at the top. This will allow you to fan out the slices.
Poach the eggs for 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, toast and butter the slices of sourdough and top with the avocado. Add a poached egg to each and a twist of salt and black pepper. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately.