Friday, August 21, 2009

anti-recipe: f'in simple avocado hors d'oeuvre

Rule #1: Don't freak out about hosting friends or family for dinner. Your boss, priest, or Secretary of Defense? Sure. Your best friends? Non.

Rule #2: Cooking and eating are fun, so enjoy the process as well as the results.

Rule #3: Make something that is easy. This will give you more time to clean your bathroom and have an apéritif prior to your guests' arrival. Both of those things are important. This avocado dish is good practice.

I first tasted this exquisitely simple creation as a student in southern France. I know, it sounds pretentious, but as a French major it was necessary to learn grammar in person and increase my vocabulary of regional foods and drink. This included, among other adventures, spending a couple weekends at a French friend's parents' home in Landes. Seeing that I am quite a large individual, my friend's mother immediately implied that the size of my appetite must surely equal or exceed that of my physical stature. She was not mistaken.

As part of a massive late spring meal, she served avocados, halved lengthwise on small plates. She put a small amount of hot Dijon mustard in the center of each, then drizzled some balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and sprinkled some coarse sea salt and black pepper. Just looking at these made me excited. As a Minnesotan, I was not accustomed to eating many avocados, and surely not as an elegant hors d'oeuvre. Eat them with a small spoon and watch your guests drool.

What is this preparation called, you might ask? I do not know. She may have referred to them as "avocats" (avocados), because French people eat stuff like this every day. Let's give it a sophisticated name, to score you points. How about "avocados balsamiques?"


Elizabeth said...

Oh mark, I remember eating that dish in your basement apartment along with a crap baguette from Patrickas...Memories. Love the blog, btw.

Housekeepers said...

so nice to hear from you. are you referring to the elegant basement of Professor Jim Fisher? it was like dinner in an old submarine, but fun.

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