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TASTE News Service, April 14, 2021 – Avocado trees are a rarity here in Northern California, but in the southern parts of the state, particularly in San Diego and Riverside Counties, avocado groves are prominent.

As avocados begin to come into season, this good fortune brings pleasure to home chefs all over the state and the rest of the country, as well.

There’s more to do with avocados than incorporate slices of them into a salad.  For creative ways to prepare this quintessential California treat it seemed logical for Taste California Travel to visit the website of the California Avocado Commission. There we found plenty of recipes, among them the one below that they credit to Bonnie Taub-Dix. She suggests serving citrus-infused sparkling water or a Sauvignon Blanc with her recipe.  If you’re taking the latter route, there are many options, mostly reasonably priced. At the more affordable end, we’d recommend the modestly-priced Bogle from Clarksburg (about $9) or a richer and more complex style from Cakebread in the Napa Valley (about $35).

 

Stuffed California Avocado with Mediterranean Salmon

By Bonnie Taub-Dix

One of my family’s favorite recipes is Stuffed California Avocados with Mediterranean Salmon. This recipe shines a light on avocados and salmon, two powerful heart healthy foods and showcases meal prep with California Avocados. The salmon is seasoned with a Mediterranean spice blend and paprika, and grilled avocados add subtle smoky deliciousness. Prepare larger portions by cooking once and eating twice to bring the same delicious flavor you enjoyed the first night with a different flair.

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 lb. salmon fillet

1/2 cup quinoa, dry

1 Tbsp. Moroccan or Turkish spice blend, or more to taste

2 Tbsp. paprika

3 tsp. minced garlic

 3 Tbsp. sliced almonds

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (preferable dill and parsley), or more to taste

Olive oil cooking spray

2 ripe, Fresh California Avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into halves

1/2 tsp. lime juice

 

Instructions

1.            Preheat grill to medium-high heat (about 350°F).

2.            Place salmon fillet into in large bowl and add spices, garlic, almonds and herbs. Rub the herb mixture all over the salmon and set aside.

3.            Prepare quinoa according to package directions.

4.            While quinoa is cooking take salmon and avocado halves to the grill. Spray salmon on both sides with cooking spray, place on the grate and close the grill cover. Grill for 3 minutes.

5.            Meanwhile, spay avocado halves with cooking spray and drizzle or squeeze fresh lime juice over the cut sides. When the salmon has been on the grill for 3 minutes, place avocado halves on the grate cut side down; gently turn the salmon over to allow for even browning and close the grill cover.

6.            Grill avocados for around 2-3 minutes or until grill marks start to form. Grill the salmon for about 6 minutes total or until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. When done, carefully remove avocados halves and salmon from the grill.

7.            Gently toss salmon with quinoa, breaking the salmon into large chunks.

8.            Use a large spoon to fill avocados with salmon and quinoa mixture. Plate the dish with the remaining salmon and quinoa under or around the stuffed avocados.

No grill variation: The salmon can be prepared in the oven and is also delicious with fresh avocados that are not grilled. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a large cookie sheet with foil and cover with cooking spray. Set aside. Cut salmon fillet into chunks and place in large bowl. Add spices, garlic, almonds and herbs to salmon and toss together. Cook in oven for 20 to 30 minutes (depending upon the thickness of the salmon chunks). Turn pieces over midway to allow for even browning.

Quinoa variations: If desired, you can add a medley of spices, herbs, garbanzo beans and/or dried fruit to the cooked quinoa.

Serving Suggestion: Serve warm accompanied by roasted vegetables or a fresh salad and lemon or lime slices. For those on a low-carb diet, the quinoa can be served on the side or omitted.

Beverage Pairing: This dish can be served with citrus infused sparkling water or a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc wine.

*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

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