Produce At Its Peak: Citrus and Avocado

When we began discussing a fair trade avocado program with Equal Exchange, we were told that not only were the avocados organically grown by PRAGOR, a small, farmer-owned cooperative–therefore P6– they were supposedly more delicious than other organic avocados on the market from both California and Mexico. Satisfying our values and our palettes is something for which we strive–but having eaten our fair share of avocados, we were a bit skeptical.

In preparation for Seward’s avocado month this February, we began to bring in cases of Equal Exchange avocados. We were blown away. These were the creamiest, nuttiest, most flavorful avocados many of us had ever tasted. They also steadily ripened and were nearly blemish free with small seeds. Pretty much the perfect avocado.

Taking full advantage of the superlative quality and the sale price ($2.99/pound), I have eaten at least an avocado a day for the past three weeks. Some days for breakfast sliced over rice and a poached egg bathed in lamb broth and topped with kimchi. Other times as a snack with just a little salt and a squeeze of lime or mashed onto a piece of toast with some arugula lightly dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and thinly sliced shallots. I’ve also been mixing a few avocados (2) in with hard boiled eggs (8), lemon juice and salt to create an incredibly creamy, mayo-free egg salad. Surprisingly, I haven’t made guacamole once in the past few weeks –although these avocados would make a delicious guacamole as well.

Avocado season in Michoacan, Mexico where the PRAGOR farms are located, is long – from September to March – but it is nearly over for this year. With citrus season waning as well, now is the time to make the following salad!

Roasted Citrus and Avocado Salad

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients

1 blood or Valencia orange, sliced ⅛” thick, seeds removed

1 Meyer or regular lemon, sliced ⅛” thick, seeds removed

4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ small red onion, thinly sliced

2 Tbp. fresh Meyer or regular lemon juice

1 bunch watercress or arugula, thick stems trimmed

½ cup fresh mint leaves

1 avocado, cut into wedges

Method

Preheat oven to 425°. Toss orange and lemon slices with 1 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast citrus, tossing occasionally, until lightly charred in spots and starting to caramelize, 10–15 minutes. This makes the citrus flavor more complex. Let cool.

Meanwhile, combine onion and lemon juice in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper and let sit 5 minutes (onion will soften a bit and get slightly sweeter and less harsh).

Add roasted citrus to bowl with onion along with arugula and mint. Drizzle remaining 3 Tbsp. oil over; season with salt and pepper and toss everything to combine and coat. Add avocado and very gently toss until lightly dressed (avoid crushing the avocado). Serves 4