Safe to say I’ve always got some kind of avocado on my windowsill. I don’t know what it is about an avocado but it just makes me giggle. The path I took to loving them started turbulently. I remember the first time I had an avocado my mother gave me some in the archway of our Kitchen when I was about 12? I was intrigued by the fleshy shamrock colour and crocodile hide and asked for a bite. She spoon-fed it to me and I almost fell to the floor in disgust. I told her it tasted like flavourless butter and I’ll never forget, she ate another spoonful and with a smile, punctuated my experience with ‘The flavour is in the texture’.
Now in the early 2000’s, an avocado was somewhat of a novelty. A little expensive and there weren’t many ways to eat them, other than in salads but over the years they have become a lot more accessible and we have discovered a multitude of mediums to eat them in. I have since grown to adore them and my favourite medium is to eat them with a spoon like a yoghurt, but that’s neither here nor there. However, the multi-faceted forms an avocado can take in its lifespan is what truly intrigues me and it is with my mother’s adage that the flavour is in the texture that allows me to play with an avocado so liberally.
The concept of texture based flavour is disturbing to somebody who analyses food the way I do. I mean, honestly, how can a feeling have a taste? But my mother was certainly right. The texture of food is definitely a vehicle to the flavour. By default, food that doesn’t come with palette bashing flavours but an interesting texture can then be a haulier for massive flavours so that the balance is correct. The texture of an avocado has since allowed me to play around with it in so many capacities – none more so than what I mash it with.
I call this ‘Pesto Guacamole’ purely because ‘Pesto Avocado Mash’ sounds gross, but this is essentially what it is. This holds all the same functions of a guacamole – which, if we had to go back to Mexican basics, should only consist of mashed avocado and sea salt – however on the notion of my mother’s note that the flavour is in the texture, the addition of pesto allows a really interesting twist on dish that still holds all the same frameworks we want from a guacamole.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN – I always buy avocados roughly two days before I intend on using them and leaving them on a windowsill as I usually account for at least two days of ripening.
Halve an avocado. Shove the knife in the top until you hit the stone and carefully manoeuvre your knife around. Twist both halves of the avocado in opposite directions. Bang the stone with your knife, twist and pull it out. Done. Scoop the green flesh out of the shells and drop into a big bowl before sprinkling with salt, squirting with lime juice and mashing with the back of a fork
Take some smoked red peppers (they come in jars from discount stores for like 49p and last several centuries in your fridge) and finely chop with a knife. Slice up some chilies as thin as you like – take the seeds out if you don’t like spice. I like food so hot that it leaves my skin falling off my skeleton, but that’s preference. Add both to the avocado mash and give a little mix. Spoon in about two tablespoons or so of pesto and give a final mix. Serve alongside some bread and if you’re a show off like me, throw some toasted pumpkin seeds on top but it’s not 100% necessary.
There you have it. A pesto guacamole that combines all the hard herbal rounded notes of the pesto with the buttery spoon of avocado. While it’s not necessarily a guacamole, it does the trick. Then again, in a world where people are trying to make guacamole out of broccoli or peas, I don’t think this is taking that much of a liberty. How can you even call something guacamole when it doesn’t even contain an avocado? Food trends will never cease to amaze, confuse and repulse me.