As I’ve mentioned it before, this country is for avocado lovers! Or avo, as they say here. Gorgeous, flawless, fresh avocados. Always. Everywhere. So I’ve done my research and now I know that most avocado orchards are in the North Eastern regions of the country, in the Limpopo (cute name) and Mpumalanga (Zulu for “the place where the sun rises”) provinces. These are warm, subtropical areas where annual rainfall is high.
The avo season in South Africa extends from March to September. There’re three major types of the fruit cultivated here: Hass, Fuerte and Pinkerton. Fuerte is medium-sized with a smooth green skin boasting a perfect pear shape, and that without any complexes, ladies!
Hass is smaller, rounder, egg-shaped with thick dark green or purple skin that is more pebbly than Fuerte. This is the fruit we mostly see in Europe. In fact, almost half of the South African avocados are exported to Europe, and as the preference of European markets is for Hass, less and less Fuerte and Pinkerton orchards are planted. Pinkerton avocados, like the ones I photographed here, have much smaller seeds and are available from early winter through spring.
This salad comes from one of Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks that I’ll precise as soon as I have access to my much-missed cookbooks which are still hidden in the belly of a huge container on a huge ship. Until then try the recipe, enjoy it, impress your dinner guests with it, as I always do. The original recipe uses spring onions, but here I used a large bunch of fresh chives, having forgotten spring onions from my shopping list.
What you’ll need to serve 4 persons:
- 2 large, ripe avocados
- a handful of blanched almonds
- a handful of fresh cilantro
- a handful of fresh french chives or spring onions
For the mustard dressing:
- 1 tbs of Dijon mustard
- 1 tbs of whole grain Dijon mustard
- 4-5 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp of red or white wine vinegar
- freshly ground pepper and pink Himalaya salt to taste
What you’ll need to do :
1. In a small frying pan roast your blanched almonds on a little olive oil. Sprinkle with some pink salt. Keep an eye on the almonds by regularly turning them. Take off the heat when crunchy and golden brown.
2. In the meantime, halve and peel avocados. Remove the seed and cut into large cubes. Clean and chop the cilantro and the french chives.
3. Prepare your dressing by mixing the two types of mustard with your choice of vinegar, then slowly add the olive oil to the mixture, turning constantly. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.
4. Cover well your avocado chunks with the dressing by tossing and turning them a couple of times. Taste and check if more salt or olive oil is needed. Add the roasted almonds, sprinkle generously with the chopped herbs and give it a good turn. Serve with fresh or toasted ciabatta or whole grain bread. Enjoy !
And to continue my photo report on the produce aisle of local grocery stores, here are the fruits and veggies that are available loose and whole (not pre-chopped) so we can contemplate them in all their beauty: quince, Sharon fruit (a variety of persimmon aka kaki), pomegranate, paw-paw (haven’t tried it, can’t comment on it yet but will tell you soon), passion fruit which is called here purple granadilla, kiwis among some baby papaya and the freshest of them all are these tangiest lemons I’ve ever tasted growing on the lemon tree in our little temporary garden.