By Nancy Finch, Food Columnist
After a long drive through the desert of Coahuilla, a
state in Northeastern Mexico, the courtyard of Posada Santa Isabel, in
Parras, was charming and welcoming.
Avocado and pomegranate trees line the outdoor dining
area. The long tables held generous bowls of guacamole. Overhead avocados, shiny and green, hung from the trees. The
guacamole would have been enough for me, it was so delicious. But soon,
platter after platter arrived of intriguing concoctions, all served with
stacks of homemade tortillas that we later watched the cooks expertly make.
Cold Mexican beer quenched our thirst from the drive to this small town
built around a desert oasis.
We were dining at the inn that belongs to our
daughter’s-in-law grandmother. Her name is Isabel and the inn is named for
I don’t know where I thought avocados came from, but
seeing them hanging over our heads as we savored the lovely fresh guacamole
was a new experience for us visiting Americans. That was a treat that will
be long-remembered. No wonder our Rosa has had such trouble adjusting to the
prices of avocados, a staple in her diet, when she was used to such plenty
in her country. She can zip the skin off an avocado and whack the pit so it
is easily removed. Despite several lessons, I haven’t mastered the art.
But thanks to the avocados overhead at the Mexican inn,
I learned something else — that avocados can stay on the tree for months
without ripening and only begin to ripen after they are picked — a great
boon for those who grow and ship — a continuous, non-seasonal supply of
Until a few years ago, most avocados consumed in the
U.S. came from California and Florida. California avocados, like the Haas
avocados from Mexico, are preferred for flavor and buttery texture. Florida
avocados are larger and not quite as flavorful, but less expensive.
The guacamole recipe we are offering is from a
Brazilian cook whose recipes were given to me by Rosa’s father.
Pictured is a perfect summertime ‘no-cook’ dinner.
With leftover rice and leftover chicken, you have the basis for “Mexican
Rice and Bean Avocado Salad.” The rice and chicken, of course, don’t
have to be left over and, actually, it is quite good without the chicken.
Avocados crown this cold summertime supper. Don’t leave them out!
Directions: Mash the avocado flesh slightly,
using a fork. Add the lime juice and mix. Place the onion in a colander or
sieve, sprinkle with the salt and let stand 10 minutes. Pour boiling water
over the onions and drain well. Pat dry with paper towels. Add the onions,
tomatoes, chilies, Tabasco sauce and fresh cilantro to the avocado mixture.
Mix well. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Tabasco as desired.
Mexican Rice and Bean Avocado Salad