This past August, I had the opportunity to be educated—and delighted—with all things avocado via a grove tour in the southern California area. One of the highlights of the short excursion was a trip to Solare Restaurant in San Diego, where patio bites pre-dinner included:
California avocado relish with tuna crudo (a knockout!—wow)
Stuffed squash blossom filled with California avocado, anchovies, lemon zest and ricotta
Semolina bread bruschetta with (you guessed it) California avocado, grilled calamari and mint ammoglio
36 hour fermented pizza dough with San Marzano tomatoes, taggiasca olive, cherry tomatoes, and sliced California avocado
In and of itself, these knock out appetizers easily satidfied my tastebuds. So good!
But wait for it! There was more. Dinner was served, the first course being a delightfully vibrant risotto mantecato with California avocado and pescatora guazzetto. Lucky for you, I received the recipe. Bon Appetit!
Risotto Mantecato with California avocado, pecorino and pescatora guazzetto
Recipe courtesy of Chef Accursio Lota, Solare Ristorante, San Diego, CA
1 cup diced ripe California Avocado*
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup short grain rice (1/3 cup for entrée/1/4 cup for starter)
4 cups vegetable stock
Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. diced shallot
2/3 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: Pescatora Guazzetto (fish stew), shown in photo
1. To prepare the avocado, place the diced California Avocado and lemon juice in a vacuum bag, and remove all air from the bag.
2. Place the bag in a sous vide** machine at 65 degrees C for about 55 minutes; refrigerate until ready to assemble dish.
3. To cook the rice, toast briefly over medium heat, but do not brown. Add enough olive oil and stir to coat each grain of rice. Add the shallot and mix together.
4. Gradually add the stock, stirring constantly after each addition until rice absorbs the stock.
5. After about 12 minutes, remove rice from the heat and gently stir in the butter and prepared avocado. Stir for about 1 minute. Cover and stir occasionally for 3 minutes.
6. Stir in 1/3 cup of cheese and continue stirring. If the mixture gets too thick, add stock. Stir in remaining 1/3 cup of cheese and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
* Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger avocados, adjust the quantity accordingly.
**Alternately if sous vide is not available: Place the diced avocado in a zip lock bag, press out air and seal. Bring 2 qts of water to just before a simmer; turn off heat and drop bag into water for 35 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to assemble dish.