If you live in the Washington, D.C./Metro area, no doubt you’ve heard the “amazing avocado” commercials on whatever radio station you may listen to (I personally listen to Hot 99.5. Kane Show, whoot! :D). If you haven’t, then maybe Hot 99.5 is just lucky to promote a healthy veggie, I dunno. Either way, it is a fact that avocados contain many essential vitamin and nutrients, as well as good for you fats, so incorporating them into your diet is something you should really try to do if you can find a way.
Over the last few weeks, that way is precisely what I have been trying to come up with. I am not big into avocado by itself, and the Ryan (as well as other Californians that I know) insists that “avocados out here just..taste different. They’re not real avocados. I mean, they are…but they’re not. They taste wrong.” What that actually means is beyond me, but I suppose I should take his word for it. After all, I have never eaten an avocado in California, so I clearly can’t draw a comparison. That being said, my friend Deb, who is fifteen times more kitchen goddess than me (and I totally worship the ground she walks on when it comes to cooking) received some avocados from her parents who are still living in CA, and she made the best guac I’ve ever eaten…so maybe there is something to this whole east/west avocado thing.
So with that in mind, I researched (just to make sure!) avocado nutrition and upon my findings, decided that I will fit avocado into our diets if its the last damn thing I do on earth. After all, I forced myself to eat a baked sweet potato once just for the nutritional value in it..and I hate those things. The only problem was, with my tastes and the Ryan’s, I couldn’t just chop up the avocados, make some guac, or even add them onto sandwiches or as a side with dinner…So what was I to do?
I stewed and stewed on what I could do, researched recipes, and surfed around the web…But I wasn’t coming up with anything remotely outside of guacamole or avocado ice cream, so I eventually moved that onto the back burner of my brain. And then one day, I was browsing foodgawker and saw an “easy homemade aioli” recipe and suddenly it hit me – Avocado Aioli! Holy crap, Beth, why didn’t you think of that sooner? It would be PERFECT for our sandwiches, as a dip, or as a dressing on fish! THAT’S what I’ll do! (If you don’t know what an aioli is, click here to read all about it!)
And so it began. I researched tons of recipes and different variations. Aiolis that used sour cream, aiolis that used yogurt, aiolis that used mayonnaise (that aren’t really an aioli, I suppose..?)…and then I found it! “The one.” This Roasted Garlic and Avocado Aioli was to become my bitch for any and all uses I find so desirable in the kitchen. Best part? The Ryan LOVES (I mean..LOVES) garlic, and this recipe called for 8 cloves. Surely, that would be enough to disguise the “wrong” avocado taste…
So, I set to work. Here is the creation, step by step (for the most part) of avocado aioli:
1 Cup Mayo, salt & pepper to taste, 1 Teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), 8 Cloves of Garlic, 1 Lime -Zest and Juice, One Avocado, plus my trusty garlic press and chef’s knife. According to the directions, I went ahead and preheated my oven to 350 and let it do its thing while I peeled the garlic and got that set. If you’ve never peeled garlic before, lay the flat of your knife blade onto the clove and whack it with your hand to kind of squish it (don’t smash it all the way, though). The outside peel will open and you can dispose of it accordingly. For a super swanky video on how to peel an entire head of garlic, check this out! I haven’t tried it, but it’s pretty damn amazing. Not gonna lie, can’t wait to try it myself!
After I peeled all the garlic, I got four of the cloves ready by sitting them in a small oven-friendly dish and coating them with the EVOO. Then I popped them into the oven and set the timer for about 20 minutes.
Next, I ran the other four cloves through my beloved garlic press (seriously – best Christmas gift EVER!) and into my chopper. After that, I started in on the avocados. If you have never opened an avocado before. the easiest and best way (for me, at least) is to run your knife vertically around the pit in one cut. Then, gently twist the two halves and they should open up like so:
To remove the pit (if you don’t intend to plant it and make your own avocado tree), tap your knife blade into it and gently twist to remove it:
After that, you can scoop out the avocado bits with a spoon. To make it easier for myself, I gently cut vertical and horizontal (like many tic tac toe boards) slits through the avocado down to the shell to make it easier to get it away from the shell (and then it’s pre-cut into workable pieces). Drop those bad boys into the chopper (or food processor if you’re lucky enough to own one of those), add the mayo (we use light mayo – cuz we’re pimp like that), and flip that bad boy on to blend. Don’t blend it too much, though – you have other things to add to this mix, remember?
By now, your concoction should look a bit like this. Check your garlic cloves and if they’re ready, take them out of the oven and let them sit. If they’re not, leave them in until they are a nice, caramelized golden brown color. While you wait, you can work on zesting your limes and extracting the juice. If you are like me and don’t have a zester, the small holes of a cheese grater will work just fine (or, if you are skilled enough to be able to zest with a knife, good on ya…go for it). Run the lime across the grater down to the rind, but be careful not to go too far and get the white part of the rind – it will make your zest (and final product) bitter. I grated mine over a small dessert plate so I had the whole pile ready to go.
I do not have any pictures of this step because frankly, I was covered in lime juice. Sadly, I didn’t have my hand held juicer, so I had to do it old school and squeeze the bajeezus out of the limes. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice into a small bowl or ramekin. If you have a hand held juicer, or even a counter top juicer, definitely take advantage of those.
By now, your garlic should be ready. Pop it out of the oven and let it sit and cool for a few minutes.
After the garlic has cooled, add it, the lime juice and the lime zest to your chopper/food processor and give it a whirl to combine thoroughly. Open it up, try a little bit, and add salt and pepper to taste. Remember to blend the salt and pepper after each addition to make sure it gets evenly distributed through the aioli. VOILA!! You’re done! You’ve got a great, nutrient-packed spread for sandwiches, meat, seafoods or even a dip! (I found this AWESOME potato wedges + avocado aioli recipe at What’s Gaby Cooking? I will for sure be making those potato wedges for this dip). Just a warning: It’s delicious, but very RICH!